India and France begin negotiations for Rafale Marine jet deal

A high-level French delegation arrives on 30 May to begin contract talks with Indian Defence Ministry

May 28, 2024

The agreement involves the purchase of 26 Rafale Marine fighter jets for over INR 50,000 crore

French officials from Dassault Aviation and Thales met Indian counterparts from the defence acquisition wing and the Indian Navy

The jets will be operated from India's aircraft carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya

India aims to finalise and sign the agreement with France by the end of this financial year

In a significant development, contract negotiations between India and France for a deal worth over INR 50,000 crore to procure 26 Rafale Marine fighter jets are set to begin on 30 May with the arrival of a high-level French delegation. According to defence industry officials, the French team will meet Indian Defence Ministry officials to kick off negotiations for the Indian Navy’s acquisition of these aircraft, which will be operated from both of the Navy’s aircraft carriers.

The French delegation, comprising representatives from their defence ministry and industry, including original equipment manufacturers Dassault Aviation and Thales, will bring their expertise to the table. On the Indian side, equally high-ranking members from the Defence Acquisition Wing and the Indian Navy will participate in the discussions, underlining the importance of these negotiations.

Government sources indicate that India is determined to complete negotiations and sign the agreement with France by the end of this financial year. In December, France submitted its response to India’s tender for the 26 Rafale Marine jets for aircraft carriers INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya. This response to India’s Letter of Acceptance was delivered in New Delhi, setting the stage for these crucial negotiations.

India has conducted a detailed review of the French bid, including the commercial offer and other contract details. Given the government-to-government nature of the deal and the complex issues involved, such as pricing, technology transfer, and delivery schedule, the upcoming negotiations are expected to be tough. The Navy Chief has directed his team to expedite the project timeline to ensure early finalisation and induction of the aircraft into the Navy’s inventory.

Source: Economic Times

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