Modi seals deal for 36 Rafale jets from France

HIS­TORIC De­ci­sion among sev­eral agree­ments reached be­tween two coun­tries

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Pra­sun Son­walkar ■ let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

PARIS: Af­ter a pro­duc­tive first day in Paris that ended with the sign­ing of 17 agree­ments, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi said Fri­day that In­dia will soon buy 36 Rafale jets in ‘fly-away con­di­tion’ while French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande an­nounced an in­vest­ment of 2 bil­lion eu­ros in In­dia.

The deals also i ncluded one be­tween French nu­clear en­gi­neer­ing com­pany Areva and Larsen & Toubro aimed at re­duc­ing cost and in­creas­ing lo­cal­iza­tion of the stalled Jaita­pur nu­clear project in Ma­ha­rash­tra. An­other ‘ preengi­neer­ing’ agree­ment be­tween Areva and the Nu­clear Power Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia seeks to “bring clar­ity to all tech­ni­cal as­pects” of the plant.

Modi said the 36 Das­sault Avi­a­tion planes were be­ing bought to deal with the In­dian Air Force’s “crit­i­cal op­er­a­tional ne­ces­sity”. The an­nounce­ment came hours af­ter HT, in an ex­clu- sive re­port, said In­dia was se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing the pur­chase of two squadrons of the fighter jets via the gov­ern­ment-to-gov­ern­ment route.

This deal is sep­a­rate from a larger 126-plane deal still be­ing ne­go­ti­ated be­tween the two coun­tries, a French de­fence min­istry source said.

A joint state­ment said Modi and Hol­lande had agreed that the terms of the new Rafale pur­chase “would be bet­ter”. >> CON­TIN­UED ON P8

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