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India, France reach final stage of 36-plane Rafale deal

Sat, Apr 16, 2016, 11:32 AM
India and France have narrowed down differences and taken the Rafale jet fighters deal to the final stage. The 36 warplanes are expectd to cost Rs 65,000 crore.

India desperately needs the Rafale fighters as she has to phase out the Soviet-era fighters. Twin-engine Rafale fighters are capable of carrying out ground and sea attacks, air defence, air superiority, reconniassance and nuclear strike deterrence.

Besides, hostile nieghbour Pakistan is being replenished by the US with more and more highly sophisticated F-16 aircraft.

It was 12 months ago that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in Paris that India would be buying 36 Rafales on a government-to-government basis after talks with Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafales, had collapsed commercially for buying 126 aircraft.

Rafale has seen combat in Afghanistan, Libya and Mali, and India will be the third country to buy the warplane after Egypt and Qatar.

India needs 45 fighter squadrons to counter a combined threat from China and Pakistan. At present India has 34 squadrons of 18 planes each. Fourteen of these squadrons have vintage MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighter planes.

The deal is expected to be inked within a month and the package includes training of the pilots.
Agency: Ap7am Desk

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