India, France sign Rafale fighter jet deal

French President Francois Hollande on Friday hailed the conclusion of the Rafale fighter jet deal with India which he said was "a recognition" of French aeronautic industry and security technology.

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

"The Prime Minister welcomed the signing of the inter-governmental agreement on purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft earlier in the day, and called for its speedy and timely implementation", said an official statement issued after their meeting.

Drain arrived in New Delhi on Thursday accompanied by CEOs of Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA to seal the multi-billion dollar deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets.

Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervened in the troubled Rafale procurement past year, ordering government-to-government talks after commercial negotiations with Dassault had collapsed. The IAF admits it does not have sufficient number of warplanes for a two-front war. The sources have said India is looking at shortlisting one more aircraft, besides Tejas, to be manufactured domestically.

The fully versatile Rafale is able to carry out all combat aviation missions - air defence, interception, ground support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence. "We are open to manufacturing Rafales in India", Mr Trappier said when asked if the French firm was willing to manufacture the fighter aircraft in India if the plane was shortlisted for a bigger order.

Nazi-era coins, photos, Hitler's book found in Poland
Archeologists had long known the artifact was buried at the location but had been unable to get to it until now. Copies of Adolf Hitler's " Mein Kampf " are displayed during the book launch of a new edition in January.

The deal includes the 36 aircraft, weapons, spares, support and maintenance and the jet will be customised as per the requirements of the IAF.

An agreement to buy 36 cutting edge Rafale jets from France's Dassault aims to fix that.

While Rafale deal has seen a closure, the government is already scouting for another fighter het to be built in India under technology transfer, virtually reopening the original MMRCA contest. Defence experts believe that the move will create business worth around Euro 3 billion for Indian companies, apart from generating thousands of jobs through offsets.

The features that make the Rafale a strategic weapon in the hands of IAF include its Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile with a range in excess of 150 km. "Without this latest acquisition, our strength would have diminished to about 24 squadrons in 10 years which is the just about the strength of Pakistan's Air Force".

- "Flying coffins" -The highly versatile aircraft is now being used for bombing missions over Syria and Iraq as part of an global campaign against the self-styled Islamic State jihadist group.

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