India and France have finalised the Rafale jet fighter deal in which India will acquire 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation. The deal has finally been signed after much delay and protracted negotiations for 7.8 bn Euros. Earlier this year, a joint statement by French president Francois Hollande and PM Narendra Modi pointed towards the Rafale fighter aircrafts’ arrival in India soon. All 36 fighter jets will come with a complete weapons system, training of pilots and base facilities for the planes.
The deal was in troubled waters last year when the Indian government had withdrawn the tender to procure these 126 multi-medium role combat aircrafts. But during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to France in April 2015, India signed a MoU with France and decided to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets in a government-to-government deal. The very first lot of the Rafale jets will arrive in India by 2019.
The deal was initiated in August 2007 when a tender was floated for purchase of 126 fighter jets. HAL was to make 108 over the next seven years. This is a landmark deal which will act as a shot in the arm of the Air Force. The Air Force was in desperate need to strengthen its depleting fleet and start replacing its ageing jet fleet from 2017 to effectively check the capabilities of Pakistan and China.