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06:01 AM, October 8, 2019
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India To Buy 36 Additional French Rafale Jets: Report
Dassault Rafale multi-role fighter

The first of the 36 ordered Rafale fighters will be handed over to India in France on Indian Air Force (IAF) Day on October 8, and the two parties concerned are already said to be holding talks on the former's acquisition of 36 additional jets.

In September 2016, India signed a Euro 7.87 billion (INR 59,000 crore) agreement with the French government for purchase of Rafale aircraft. Heavily customised for India, it will reportedly get 14 India-specific enhancements.

The new contract is still in nascent stages and could be signed in late 2020 or early 2021. These fighters will be built in India under the "Make In India" initiative launched in 2014, La Tribune reported citing concordant sources as saying, on Tuesday.

India To Buy 36 Additional French Rafale Jets: Report
Pilots from India few sorties on Rafale jet during Guruda-2019 Indo-French joint exercise held in July this year.  

"My visit to France is aimed at expanding the existing strategic partnership between both the countries" Rajnath Singh, Defense Minister of India tweeted on Monday. He is in the country to receive the IAF's first Rafale fighter.

La Tribune speculates that the new agreement could be officially announced in January 2020 on the occasion of India's Republic Day (26 January). Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has invited French President Emmanuel Macron to join India in its celebrations.

India To Buy 36 Additional French Rafale Jets: Report
IAF Rafale fighter (image by Rushabh P Bafna)

The IAF floated Request For Information (RFI) earlier this year to acquire 114 combat aircraft to supplement its depleting fleet of fighters.

 

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