There is no certainty that the Indo-French Government to Government multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter deal will be signed during the French President’s visit to New Delhi next week.
"The discussions are taking place at present. So I cannot say what will be the outcome of this. They are not finalised. Indeed it is a complex negotiation," India media reported quoting French Envoy Francois Richier as saying Friday.
French President Francois Hollande will be visiting New Delhi during India’s Republic Day celebrations next Tuesday.
The envoy said, "Of course I will share with you that I am hopeful. But hopeful does not mean we have certitude. Work is being conducted with a lot of energy." An inter-government framework agreement is expected to be signed during the visit of Hollande but a final contract will take time as the cost negotiations are still on.
"There will be an inter-government agreement because it is a government to government negotiation. Everything will be within this IGA and its annexure. I can confirm this because it is no surprise," he said.
Richier later clarified that he did not mean that the IGA will be signed for sure during the visit.
Defence sources said the main problem relates to the cost issue. It is expected that the final contract for the 36 aircraft, including its missile system and others, will cost around Rs 60,000 crore.