Top officials of Dassault Aviation and DCNS will accompany French President Francois Hollande for his visit to India this week, raising hopes for progress on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal with France.
The company officials will be part of the delegation that will be arriving with Hollande on January 24. There is speculation that the two countries may announce an Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) regarding the Rafale deal.
“Officials of Dassault and DCNS will be a part of the team of 100 that will accompany the French President. Hollande will be accompanied by diplomats, ministers and government officials besides 18 official media representatives,” a defence ministry source said.
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During his visit to France last April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India would buy 36 Rafale jets from that country.
This was followed by formation of committees by the two sides which deliberated on various aspects such as offsets, costs, serviceability.
While the French side had reservations regarding offsets in the deal, the same were resolved later in 2015. Expectations are thus high that a significant announcement could be made in this regard during Hollande’s visit.