France is keen to sell 36 more Rafale fighter aircraft to India among a series of other defence equipment.
New Delhi: A meeting between French President’s diplomatic advisor Emmanuel Bonneand National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval is underway in New Delhi on Thursday to discuss defence deals among other things.
The meeting follows bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron a week ago in Paris.
France is keen to sell 36 more Rafale fighter aircraft to India among a series of other defence equipment, including helicopters for the Navy and the Coast Guard and submarines, The Indian Express reported.
It is learnt that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to visit France later in September to receive first of 36 Rafale fighter jets – the delivery is expected in the third week of September.
Indian Air Force pilots will be trained for the next few months in France before the Rafale aircraft are sent to India, it is learnt.
It was reported that PM Modi and Macron had noted with “satisfaction” the progress in implementation of agreements signed, reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen cooperation in the field of defence industry, and extended their support to partnerships between defence companies of the two countries in the spirit of “Make in India” and for mutual benefit of both.
While 16-18 Caracal helicopters for the Coast Guard are in the queue — the helicopters for the Navy will be Panther, sources said.
The two sides are learnt to have come very close to signing the orders for new Caracal helicopters for the Coast Guard last year, but could not do so due to the not-so-conducive conditions, ostensibly given the political climate over Rafale aircraft, and New Delhi’s seeming reluctance to sign the deal before the Lok Sabha elections this summer.