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June 14, 2024

India and France Negotiating 26 Rafale Marine Fighter Jet Deal

India and France are actively negotiating the price and associated terms for a significant defense deal involving 26 Rafale Marine fighter jets intended for the Indian Navy. This crucial discussion, which includes various defense and acquisition officials from both nations, is pivotal for bolstering India’s naval aviation capabilities.

The talks, originally scheduled for May 30, were postponed to the second week of June, likely due to the concurrent Lok Sabha election processes. The French delegation, currently in New Delhi, includes representatives from their Directorate General of Armament, responsible for the Rafale jets’ sale to India. On the Indian side, the Directorate General of Acquisition under the Ministry of Defence, along with other military officers from the user departments, are leading the negotiations.

This high-stakes project is estimated to be worth over Rs 50,000 crore, a substantial investment that will significantly enhance the Indian Navy’s combat prowess. This addition of 26 Rafale Marine jets will complement the existing fleet of 36 Rafale jets already in service with the Indian Air Force, increasing the total number to 62 advanced aircraft.

These Rafale Marine jets are slated to operate from India’s aircraft carriers, INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant, crucial assets for the Indian Navy’s power projection. Additionally, the Indian Navy plans to base these aircraft at INS Degha in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, providing strategic coverage over the Indian Ocean region.

The genesis of this procurement dates back to December of the previous year when France responded to India’s tender for the purchase of these 26 Rafale Marine jets. This response was in the form of a Letter of Acceptance submitted by France to New Delhi, marking the formal beginning of this complex government-to-government negotiation.

As these negotiations progress, the Indian side is keen to secure the most favorable terms possible, reflecting India’s strategic and financial considerations. The outcome of these talks will be pivotal, not just for the immediate augmentation of India’s naval air power, but also for the broader defense relationship between India and France.

The successful acquisition and integration of these Rafale Marine jets will provide a significant boost to India’s defense capabilities, ensuring a modern and formidable presence in the Indian Ocean. With both nations invested in a favorable outcome, the deal represents a crucial step forward in the defense collaboration between India and France.

Read more latest news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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