The much-anticipated contract for 36 Rafale fighter jets will be signed on September 23 as both India and France have finalized the details for the deal, which will cost about Euro 7.87 billion.
The IAF’s squadron strength has dwindled to dangerously low levels, many jets are near the end of their operational lives, and the future looks uncertain.
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The development comes nearly four months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande signed a memorandum of agreement to purchase 36 Rafale combat jets.
Defence Ministry sources indicated that the government machinery worked against time to complete the much-expected Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) two weeks ago.
The purchase of the 36 Rafale jets from France would cost India around Rs 60,000 crore.
36 French fighters will arrive over 7 yrs, IAF hopes to build squadron strength.
The plan to purchase 36 aircraft, which was announced by PM Narendra Modi during his visit to France, is currently being negotiated by Indian and French teams.
India’s insistence on the offset clause, tweaking of weaponary technology and plans to set up two bases for Rafale fighter jets would lead to cost escalation.
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PM Modi on his visit to France announced that 36 Rafale fighter jets would be bought from France in fly-away condition.
The ostensible reason for India starting a separate process, away from the 126 aircraft deal, is to urgently meet the “critical operational necessity” of the IAF.
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Officials also revealed that a decision in this regard had been taken “weeks ago”.