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India signs deal for 36 French Rafale fighter jets to counter China, Pakistan squadrons

By Tommy Wilkes and Nigam Prusty

(Reuters) - signed a deal to buy 36 fighter jets from France on Friday for around $8.7 billion, the country's first major of combat planes in two decades and a boost for Prime Minister Modi's plan to rebuild an ageing fleet.

The air force is down to 33 squadrons, against its requirement of 45 to face both China, with which it has a festering border dispute, and nuclear-armed rival Pakistan.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the agreement with his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar, in New Delhi, ending almost 18 months of wrangling over terms between and manufacturer Aviation.

Parrikar said the deal, which a defence ministry official said was valued at 7.8 billion euros ($8.7 billion), would "significantly improve India's strike and defence capabilities".

Air force officials have warned for years of a major capability gap opening up with and without new state-of-the-art planes, as India's outdated and largely Russian-made fleet retires and production of a locally made plane was delayed.

had originally awarded with an order for 126 Rafales in 2012 after the twin-engine fourth-generation fighter beat rivals in a decade-long selection process, but subsequent talks collapsed.

Modi, who has vowed to modernise India's armed forces with a $150 billion spending spree, personally intervened in April 2015 to agree on the smaller order of 36 and give the air force a near-term boost as he weighed options for a more fundamental overhaul.

The first ready-to-fly Rafales are expected to arrive by 2019 and is set to have all 36 within six years.

Defence analyst Nitin Gokhale told that the price tag was fair and that had negotiated it down from 12 billion euros.

said in a statement it welcomed the contract signing.

says its locally made Tejas fighter, which took to the skies in July 33 years after it was cleared for development, will form a major part of its future fleet, but Parrikar has also said that needed 100 new light combat aircraft by 2020 to replace Russian MiG-21s.

That has encouraged the likes of Sweden's Saab and U.S. Lockheed Martin to re-pitch their single-engine Gripen and F-16 planes that were eliminated in the tender.

"The is filling up one critical gap. It's not the whole envelope," Gokhale said. "Once this is over, the government will get down to business to assess the proposals."

is the world's largest arms importer, and despite Modi's pledge to build a local manufacturing base, foreign defence firms view as one of the most lucrative markets as Western states trim defence budgets.

($1 = 0.8920 euros)

(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Nigam Prusty; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Nick Macfie)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Business Standard

India signs deal for 36 French Rafale fighter jets to counter China, Pakistan squadrons

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

By Tommy Wilkes and Nigam Prusty

(Reuters) - signed a deal to buy 36 fighter jets from France on Friday for around $8.7 billion, the country's first major of combat planes in two decades and a boost for Prime Minister Modi's plan to rebuild an ageing fleet.

The air force is down to 33 squadrons, against its requirement of 45 to face both China, with which it has a festering border dispute, and nuclear-armed rival Pakistan.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the agreement with his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar, in New Delhi, ending almost 18 months of wrangling over terms between and manufacturer Aviation.

Parrikar said the deal, which a defence ministry official said was valued at 7.8 billion euros ($8.7 billion), would "significantly improve India's strike and defence capabilities".

Air force officials have warned for years of a major capability gap opening up with and without new state-of-the-art planes, as India's outdated and largely Russian-made fleet retires and production of a locally made plane was delayed.

had originally awarded with an order for 126 Rafales in 2012 after the twin-engine fourth-generation fighter beat rivals in a decade-long selection process, but subsequent talks collapsed.

Modi, who has vowed to modernise India's armed forces with a $150 billion spending spree, personally intervened in April 2015 to agree on the smaller order of 36 and give the air force a near-term boost as he weighed options for a more fundamental overhaul.

The first ready-to-fly Rafales are expected to arrive by 2019 and is set to have all 36 within six years.

Defence analyst Nitin Gokhale told that the price tag was fair and that had negotiated it down from 12 billion euros.

said in a statement it welcomed the contract signing.

says its locally made Tejas fighter, which took to the skies in July 33 years after it was cleared for development, will form a major part of its future fleet, but Parrikar has also said that needed 100 new light combat aircraft by 2020 to replace Russian MiG-21s.

That has encouraged the likes of Sweden's Saab and U.S. Lockheed Martin to re-pitch their single-engine Gripen and F-16 planes that were eliminated in the tender.

"The is filling up one critical gap. It's not the whole envelope," Gokhale said. "Once this is over, the government will get down to business to assess the proposals."

is the world's largest arms importer, and despite Modi's pledge to build a local manufacturing base, foreign defence firms view as one of the most lucrative markets as Western states trim defence budgets.

($1 = 0.8920 euros)

(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Nigam Prusty; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Nick Macfie)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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India signs deal for 36 French Rafale fighter jets to counter China, Pakistan squadrons

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India signed a deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France on Friday for around $8.7 billion, the country's first major acquisition of combat planes in two decades and a boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plan to rebuild an ageing fleet.

By Tommy Wilkes and Nigam Prusty

(Reuters) - signed a deal to buy 36 fighter jets from France on Friday for around $8.7 billion, the country's first major of combat planes in two decades and a boost for Prime Minister Modi's plan to rebuild an ageing fleet.

The air force is down to 33 squadrons, against its requirement of 45 to face both China, with which it has a festering border dispute, and nuclear-armed rival Pakistan.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the agreement with his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar, in New Delhi, ending almost 18 months of wrangling over terms between and manufacturer Aviation.

Parrikar said the deal, which a defence ministry official said was valued at 7.8 billion euros ($8.7 billion), would "significantly improve India's strike and defence capabilities".

Air force officials have warned for years of a major capability gap opening up with and without new state-of-the-art planes, as India's outdated and largely Russian-made fleet retires and production of a locally made plane was delayed.

had originally awarded with an order for 126 Rafales in 2012 after the twin-engine fourth-generation fighter beat rivals in a decade-long selection process, but subsequent talks collapsed.

Modi, who has vowed to modernise India's armed forces with a $150 billion spending spree, personally intervened in April 2015 to agree on the smaller order of 36 and give the air force a near-term boost as he weighed options for a more fundamental overhaul.

The first ready-to-fly Rafales are expected to arrive by 2019 and is set to have all 36 within six years.

Defence analyst Nitin Gokhale told that the price tag was fair and that had negotiated it down from 12 billion euros.

said in a statement it welcomed the contract signing.

says its locally made Tejas fighter, which took to the skies in July 33 years after it was cleared for development, will form a major part of its future fleet, but Parrikar has also said that needed 100 new light combat aircraft by 2020 to replace Russian MiG-21s.

That has encouraged the likes of Sweden's Saab and U.S. Lockheed Martin to re-pitch their single-engine Gripen and F-16 planes that were eliminated in the tender.

"The is filling up one critical gap. It's not the whole envelope," Gokhale said. "Once this is over, the government will get down to business to assess the proposals."

is the world's largest arms importer, and despite Modi's pledge to build a local manufacturing base, foreign defence firms view as one of the most lucrative markets as Western states trim defence budgets.

($1 = 0.8920 euros)

(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Nigam Prusty; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Nick Macfie)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

image
Business Standard
177 22

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