India and France today signed an around Rs 59,000 crore deal for Rafale fighter jets, equipped with latest missiles and weapon system besides multiple India-specific modifications.
The Inter Governmental Agreement was signed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his visiting French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian for 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in fly away condition.
Under the deal, there is a 50 per cent offset clause under which French industry will invest half of the contract value back in the country which is expected to develop some expertise domestically in the aerospace sector.
The features that make the Rafale a strategic weapon is its Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile with a range in excess of 150 kilometre. During the Kargil war, India had used a BVR having 50 kilometre range. The delivery of this aircraft will start in 36 months and will be completed in 66 months from the date the contract is inked.
Speaking to media in New Delhi today, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, this is the first such deal for procurement of fighter jets signed in 20 years, which is unique in itself.
Meanwhile, International French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation which manufactures Rafael aircraft has welcomed the acquisition of 36 Rafael aircraft by India.
In an release, the company said, the new contract illustrates the strategic relationship and the exemplary partnership maintained between India and France and marks the natural culmination of the relationship of trust initiated in 1953 when India became Dassault Aviation’s first export customer.
It said, this further success of the Rafale confirms the technological know-how and competences of Dassault Aviation’s employees and of its 500 industrial partners.
It represents a decisive step forward in achieving Dassault Aviation’s goal of establishing itself in India with a view to developing wide-ranging cooperation under the Make in India policy promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.