France, India sign Rafale fighter deal
Amid the heated argument between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of Kashmir unrest and Uri attack, French defence minister Jean Yves Le Drian on Thursday night arrived in New Delhi for signing Rafale deal.
The French defence minister has signed the 7.8 billion deal for 36 Rafale jets, which will come equipped with latest missiles and weapon system, giving the Indian Air Force a cutting edge over arch rival Pakistan.
According to a report in PTI, the deal of the fighter jet was signed today in the presence of defence minister Manohar Parrikar and Drian.
Citing its sources it added that chief executive officers (CEOs) of top French companies, including Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale will also take part in the deal process today.
The deal comes with a saving of nearly 750 million than the one struck during the previous UPA government, which was scrapped by the Narendra Modi government, besides a 50 per cent offset clause.
These combat aircraft, delivery of which will start in 36 months and will be completed in 66 months from the date the contract is inked, come equipped with state-of-the-art missiles like ‘Meteor’ and ‘Scalp’ that will give IAF a capability that had been sorely missing in its arsenal.
The main feature of the Rafale missile is the capability of Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile with a range in excess of 150 km. As of now, Pakistan has only a BVR with 80 km range. During the Kargil war, India had used a BVR of 50 km range while Pakistan had none.
It means that the integration on the Rafale jets will mean IAF can hit targets inside both Pakistan and across the northern and eastern borders while staying within India’s territorial boundary.
However, Pakistan later acquired 80-km-range BVR, but now with ‘Meteor’ the balance of power in the air space has again tilted in India’s favour.