India, France Finally Sign $8.9 Billion Rafale Fighter Jet Deal
India and France finally signed the long-delayed Rafale deal for 36 fighter jets for 8 billion euros ($8.9 billion) on Friday.
The deal was inked in New Delhi by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The deal was signed 16 months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s plans to buy the fighter aircraft.
The deal comes with a saving of nearly 750 million euros, gained through hard negotiations by the Indian side, over the one struck by the previous UPA regime. The earlier deal was scrapped by the Narendra Modi government.
The new agreement also includes a 50 percent offset clause. The clause ensures that Indian businesses, both big and small, will gain work to the tune of over three billion euros.
The delivery of the 36 aircraft will start in three years and will be completed in 66 months from the date the of the singing of the contract,
These combat aircraft come equipped with state-of-the-art missiles like ‘Meteor’ and ‘Scalp’ that will give IAF a capability that had been sorely missing in its arsenal.
The Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile has a range in excess of 150km and will propve a a strategic weapon for IAF.
Its integration with the Rafale jets will mean IAF can hit targets inside both Pakistan and across the northern and eastern borders while staying within India’s territorial boundary. Pakistan at present has only a BVR with 80km range.
(With PTI inputs)
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