France and India Friday signed the purchase by New Delhi of 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault manufacturer for almost eight billion euros.
After a lengthy saga with twists, India and France have finally signed on Friday the sale to New Delhi from 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault manufacturer, for almost eight billion euros.
If that agreement is far from the “contract of the century” which involved 126 fighter jets, but the exclusive talks between India and Dassault had been abandoned in 2015, it remains the most expensive ever won by ‘French military aircraft.
President Francois Hollande welcomed Friday “for the conclusion of negotiations for the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft by India” , saying it reflected “recognition” of “quality” of the aviation industry French.
“The agreement signed today in New Delhi by the Defence Minister, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, brand recognition by a great military and strategic power, operational performance, technological quality and competitiveness of the French aerospace industry “ , says the head of State in a statement, noting that ” 84 Rafale combat aircraft “have been sold since 2015.
A series of nine
The curtain fell on a series of nine at midday in New Delhi. During a brief ceremony, the French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar initialed the intergovernmental agreement negotiated sharply since April, 2015.
The two officials exchanged a long, warm handshake. Applause broke out in the French delegation at the end of the signature, found an AFP journalist.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Le Drian expressed his “pride” and “satisfaction with the partnership we have long with India” .
“It really is not completely reassured that when we signed and it is today” , he said, referring to the many adventures of this shopping marathon.
Under the agreement, 10 000 pages thick, New Delhi will buy 36 Rafale combat aircraft to the French manufacturer Dassault for some eight billion euros.
The first Rafale will be delivered end of 2019, delivery to be spread over two and half years.
Third foreign client
This is the largest foreign order in the history of the Rafale. After difficult export debut, the French hunter had finally found a buyer in 2015 in Qatar and Egypt. The two countries had acquired 24 each aircraft.
The manufacturer hopes that this first contract with India will open the way to other successes for the Rafale in the country, where it could be made this time.
Given the state of its arsenal, New Delhi has temporarily waived its Rafale production requirement on its soil.
India “wanted these aircraft quickly because their advanced technology, their missiles, can help make a difference” strategic, decrypts to AFP Nitin A. Gokhale, a specialist in defense issues.
In return, however, Dassault will be contractually obliged to reinvest nearly half of the money collected in the Indian industry.
But this command does not fully appease the army of the Indian air. It has only one small thirty squadrons of 18 aircraft, where at least 42 are considered necessary.
In France, such a contract with India, great power in South Asia, is also an important diplomatic victory.
“This is the sign of our presence in this part of the world. With Australia (who chose the French technology to renew its fleet of submarines), was more than ever two essential partners in Asia-Pacific “ , says one in the entourage of Mr. Le Drian.
Modernization of the Indian Army
The arrival of French fighters should alleviate some of the army of the Indian air, denouncing longstanding inadequate and obsolete equipment.
Besides the old enmity with his brother enemy Pakistan, India is facing the rise and affirmation of China on the Asian continent.
“Pakistan can handle it. Pakistan, one can show the muscles. But China, it is not at all measure up “ , told AFP the analyst Gulshan Luthra.
The Indian fleet is composed for many of Russian aircraft at end of life. Their frequent accidents and damage besides their worth regularly are named “flying coffins” .
This agreement is part of a larger movement of military modernization, in which India has injected a total of over $ 100 billion.
The most populous democracy in the world originally had launched a tender for 126 combat aircraft – including 108 assembled in India – for whom she had entered into exclusive negotiations with Dassault, manufacturer of the Rafale in 2012.