Our Bureau
12:43 PM, January 2, 2015

France is hopeful that "Make in India" campaign would lead to clearing of the much-delayed surface-to-air missile systems project worth $6 billion with India.

However, the Indian armed forces are skeptical about the missile since indigenously developed Akash is in play.

The project, called Maitri, was for joint development and production between India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and France's MBDA. It was initiated in 2007.

A MoU to co-develop the surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) was signed during French President Francois Hollande's visit to India in February last year.

Since then, the situation has changed as the Indian Air Force feels that its requirements could be met by indigenous Akash surface-to-air missile weapon system.

"We have written back answering the issues raised by the IAF. We are hopeful that this deal would be inked soon," an MBDA official was quoted as saying by Brahmand, adding that the "Make in India" project is apt for the deal.

He further added that while the range of SRSAM will be of 40 km, Akash's range is only 25 km.

The Indian Air Force officials said that they have nothing against the Maitri project per se but would prefer to use the available Akash missile rather than wait for the Indo-French ones to come.

The Akash missile is already in play and is based on a similar platform like the Maitri, according to DRDO. However, the French are pushing for Maitri.

"SRSAM is part of our strategic dialogue with India and is raised whenever top officials and leaders from both sides meet” an MBDA official said.

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