France’s defense minister Florence Parly (pictured) announced a visit to India on September 10 as the South Asian nation prepares to induct the long-awaited Rafale fighter jets into its air force.
The minister will participate in a ceremony to mark the induction of the French-made jets, according to Indian officials with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified citing rules.
It’s the first major ministerial visit since India locked down in late March to contain the coronavirus epidemic and comes amid a four-month-long border standoff with neighbor China. Five Rafale fighter jets manufactured by Dassault Aviation SA arrived in India on July 30 in the midst of the tensions, the first of 36 planes that formed part of a $8.7-billion deal agreed to by New Delhi in 2016.
India is the world’s third-biggest military spender.
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