France has reportedly submitted its response to India's tender to buy 26 Rafale Marine jets for the Indian Navy's aircraft carriers - INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya.
France has submitted its response to India's Letter of Acceptance in New Delhi, ANI reported citing defence sources.
A team of French government officials responsible for military sales to foreign countries has traveled from Paris to submit their response to the Indian tender.
The Indian side will now conduct an in-depth analysis of the French proposal for the Indian deal, including the commercial offer or price for the aircraft, along with other details of the contract.
India will now negotiate the deal with French government officials, as it is a government-to-government contract.
The Chief of the Navy has instructed the officials to ensure considerable reduction in the project's timeframe to expedite the finalisation and induction of the planes in the inventory.
Over a month ago, the Indian government submitted a Letter of Request to France.
This document, akin to a tender, details all the specifications and capabilities India desires in the Rafale Marine aircraft it plans to procure for its aircraft carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya.
The Indian Navy and the Indian government are working in a fast-track mode to ensure that the acquisition contract is signed at the earliest. This will enable Indian carriers to operate the highly capable aircraft, thereby providing New Delhi with a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean region.
The Defence Acquisition Council had approved the aircraft deal worth 5.5 billion euros before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France as the state guest for the Bastille Day parade in July this year.
According to the plans, the Indian Navy is set to receive 22 single-seater Rafale Marine aircraft and four trainer aircraft.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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