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Rafale Marine jets: India and France Engage in Intense Negotiations for Multi-Billion (approx. Euro 4 billion) Deal

India and France are currently immersed in rigorous negotiations over a multi-billion Euro deal for Rafale Marine jets, a crucial endeavor aimed at fortifying India’s naval capabilities.

Negotiations Gain Momentum Amidst Tight Deadline: The Indian side, eager to bolster its fighter aircraft fleet, is pushing for the swift conclusion of the negotiations, for Rafale Marine jets aiming to finalize the contract by the end of the fiscal year.The negotiations, initially scheduled for late May, were postponed to June 12 due to the 2024 Lok Sabha election. A French delegation has been engaged in discussions with Indian authorities for the past two days, delving into pricing and other critical aspects of the deal.

Sources within the defence sector revealed that the anticipated deal is estimated to be worth over Rs 50,000 crore, encompassing a comprehensive package. The Indian contingent comprises officials from the defence ministry’s acquisition wing along with representatives from the Indian Navy.

Crucial Deal for Indian Navy’s Fleet Enhancement: The procurement holds significant importance for the Indian Navy, particularly in complementing the existing fleet of Russian-origin MiG-29K fighters. The prospective acquisition entails 22 single-seated Rafale Marine aircraft along with four twin-seater trainer versions, marking India’s second major purchase of fighter jets from the French defence manufacturer, Dassault Aviation.

Government Greenlights Procurement, Signaling Strategic Shift: This development comes at a crucial juncture when the Indian Navy grapples with a shortage of aircraft and submarines, underscoring the urgency of meeting its operational requirements. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has already granted approval for the purchase, paving the way for a substantial enhancement of India’s naval arsenal.

Furthermore, discussions between India and France have centered on augmenting the Make in India elements within the proposed deal, reflecting India’s aspirations to develop its indigenous aircraft manufacturing industry. This emphasis on domestic production aligns with India’s broader strategic objectives and underscores its commitment to self-reliance in defence production.

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