France Defence Minister due in New Delhy on Tuesday
India and France will hold the first formal consultations this week for concluding the Rafale deal announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris last month.
Indian and French sources said the two sides will discuss the broad contours of the way forward to finalize the “government to government” deal for 36 fighter jets from France during the visit of French defence minister this week.
French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will be in New Delhi on Tuesday to hold talks with his counterpart Manohar Parrikar and national security advisor Ajit Doval. Sources said the French minister would be accompanied by senior officials, and a team from Dassault, the manufacturers, is also expected to be around the period.
Parrikar said the final negotiations to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets would start this month and wrapped up as soon as possible. “The government-to-government committee will be set up which will begin negotiations on the Rafale deal,” Parrikar told PTI. “The negotiations will start any time in May and we have to conclude them as early as possible,” he said in Goa.
The deal, estimated to cost over five billion euros (approx Rs 35,000 crore), would be for buying 36 of the advanced fighters in a ‘ready to fly’ condition. Parrikar said during Le Drian’s visit, the modalities for the negotiations would be discussed, but not the deal itself. “We will not be directly involved in future talks,” Parrikar said.