The delivery of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France would be in a time frame compatible with the operational requirement of the IAF, the Rajya Sabha was told on Tuesday.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also said the 36 aircraft and associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the same configuration as had been tested and approved by the IAF, and with with a longer maintenance responsibility by France. In a written reply, Parrikar said India would like to acquire the jets in “fly away” condition as quickly as possible.
He was referring to an agreement signed between India and France during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris. He also said an inter-governmental agreement has been signed with the Russian Federation for design, development, production of a Prospective Multi Role Fighter Aircraft. India has in recent years launched a vast defence modernisation programme worth some USD 100 billion, partly to keep up with rival neighbours Pakistan and China.