Mere financial aspects of the approximately Rs 60,000 crore Rafale fighter aircraft deal with France are left to be thrashed out, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
Modi said only the financial details needed to be chalked out before the much-awaited purchase of Rafale aircrafts is concluded.
Certain quarters have started raising quiet questions as to whether the deal was still on. Modi’s statement would help put that speculation to rest.
“Only financial aspects of the Rafale deal is left. The inter-governmental agreement has been finalised. It will be done soon,” Modi said in his statement after delegation level talks with French President Francois Hollande who is in India to attend the Republic Day parade on 26 January.
Earlier, Modi had announced India’s intention to purchase 36 Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft of French aerospace major Dassault during his visit to Paris last year. The value of the deal is expected to be around Rs.60,000 crore.
In a joint statement issued by India and France in New Delhi on Monday, the two countries talked about defence, including the Rafale fighter aircrafts.
The defence-related part of the joint statement, issued on Monday, read:
- The two leaders [Modi and Hollande] welcomed the conclusion of the Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) on the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts in flyaway condition, except for some financial issues relating to the IGA which they agreed must be resolved as soon as possible.
- The two leaders also agreed to intensify cooperation between the Indian and French Armed Forces in the fields of cyber security, Special Forces and intelligence-sharing to tackle the common threat of terrorism.
- The leaders noted with satisfaction, that the bilateral Agreement on Defence Cooperation concluded in 2006 has advanced cooperation in defence cooperation, production, research and development and procurement of defence material. The two sides agreed that the Agreement on Defence Cooperation will be extended for another ten years.
- The leaders stressed the importance of joint military exercises. They welcomed the successful air exercise Garuda in June 2014 and naval exercise Varuna in April 2015, in which the French carrier strike group participated. They welcomed the latest round of the Shakti exercise held in India from 6-20 January which brought out useful operational lessons for the two Armies, especially in countering terrorism. The leaders welcomed the port call at Toulon by the Indian Naval Ship Trikand in September 2015, and the conduct of a joint exercise to enhance interoperability between the two navies. The French multi-mission frigate Provence will participate in the International Fleet Review at Visakhapatnam in February 2016.
- The two leaders underlined the long history of cooperation between France and India in the defence sector and acknowledged the strong commitment of French companies to manufacturing in India. They called for further intensification of cooperation in agreed areas, including collaboration in defence technologies, research and development. In response to the new emphasis on defence manufacturing by the Government of India, they encouraged their respective business enterprises to enter into arrangements for co-development and co-production of defence equipment in India, including transfer of know-how and technologies. The Leaders also welcomed various joint ventures between Indian and French companies already underway and pledged their support to public and private enterprises for intensifying cooperation in this field.