Rafale deal ‘hopefully’ by year-end: IAF chief

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Admitting that there was a shortage of fighters, the Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha, said on Saturday that he was “hopeful” that the deal for purchasing 36 Rafale jets off-the-shelf from France would be finalised by the year-end.

Raha said that the negotiations for the deal, finalised during prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in April, was progressing well.

At the annual conference ahead of Air Force Day on 8 October, the Air Chief said, “I am hopeful that the negotiations for the deal will not go beyond this year. This is my feeling.”

Raha also said that it would take two to three years for the first of two Rafale squadrons to be operational. He also said that at least six squadrons of medium multi-role combat aircraft were required, adding that the decision on acquiring these would be taken by the government.

(IANS)

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