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.
There was buzz that the Scorpene leak might affect the Rafale deal, but Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had assured that the leaked documents are not of concern.
Government sources said the cost, offsets and service details have been finalized and the work is being done on the Inter-Governmental Agreement for the deal.
A “working team” from France is already in town with their own translators and are going through the contract, running into several thousand pages, with their Indian counterparts.
The sources said that once the IGA is firmed up, the document will go back to the Cabinet Committee on Security for a final clearance.
They said that India has been able to save over Euro 590 million+ through tough price negotiations which began in January this year.
Though the deal could have been firmed up earlier, issues like pricing and offsets took time as India wanted a better contract.
Following intervention by Prime Minister Modi late last year, France agreed for a 50 per cent offset clause. This means creating business worth at least three billion Euros for Indian companies, both big and small, and generating thousands of jobs in India through offsets.
A high-level delegation from France could come down for the formal signing of the contract, French sources said.
The delivery for the fighter aircraft is expected to begin in 2019, with an annual inflation capped at 3.5 per cent.
The weapon systems, part of the deal, will also include the new-age, beyond visual range missile ‘Meteor’, and Israeli helmet mounted display.
(With inputs from PTI)
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