India will buy 36 Rafale jets from France after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande today agreed to conclude an Inter-Governmental Agreement bypassing the protracted negotiations for purchase of 126 such jets. Making an announcement after the deal was signed, PM Narendra Modi said the jets will be procured “as soon as possible”.
“Keeping in view the critical operational necessity of fighter aircraft in India, I have asked President to provide 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition as quickly as possible. We both have decided that these will be provided to India in modified terms and conditions,” said Modi in a joint statement.
The Rafale deal has been bogged down over cost and Dassault Aviation’s reluctance to stand guarantee for 108 planes to be made by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
“I am delighted by the decision of the Indian authorities which gives a new impetus to our partnership for the next decades and comes within the scope of the strategic relationship gathering France and India,” Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation said.
Modi and Hollande also decided to move ahead with the stalled Jaitapur nuclear project in Maharashtra. Expressing the ties between the two nations has reached “new level”, Modi said “I am happy that in Jaitapur, we have made progress on setting up 6 nuclear power projects. Both have signed an agreement on reducing the cost of power production and more technical support and further study.”
The joint statement said the two leaders encouraged their commercial enterprises for an early conclusion of techno-commercial discussions on the proposal for construction of six 1650 MW nuclear plants in Jaitapur with due consideration to project viability and in the framework of an ambitious partnership for large and critical components
With ‘Make-in-India’ being the theme, the two sides signed about 20 pacts, covering areas like civil nuclear energy, urban development, railways and space.
Earlier in the day, Modi met CEOs of Frence companies dealing with defence and they expressed interest in setting up technological and industrial projects in India.
An MoU was signed between French company Areva and Larsen and Tubro “which will widen the scope of our industrial cooperation as well as the conclusion of pre-engineering studies agreement,” it said.
“The two leaders also urged their atomic energy establishments to lay an ambitious foundation for the future of India-France civil nuclear cooperation, including a wide range of subjects, including in the area of civil nuclear liability,” the joint statement said.
France also announced an investment of 2 billion euros (about USD 1 billion) in India as Modi invited French companies to pump in money in technology in the fastest growing economy.
France also agreed to help in the development of three smart cities in India, including Puducherry and Nagpur.