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Rafale deal with France cleared; to be signed on Friday

By Newsd
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Defence ministry has announced that the decks have been cleared for direct acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France on Friday. The overall cost of the 36 twin-engine Rafales, along with their weapon packages is pegged at around Rs 59,000 crore. The deal will be a booster dose for India’s air combat power.

An inter-government agreement will be signed on September 23, in the presence of defence minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The induction of these fighter jets in the Indian Air Force will boost the strategic role to deliver nuclear weapons.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said that India undertook some real strong bargaining to bring down the overall cost of the deal.

The government last year had scrapped the $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project to acquire 126 fighters. MMRCA project had a ‘Make in India’ component unlike Rafale deal.

The Indian Air Force currently has 32 fighter squadrons. But India needs at least 42 for dissuasive deterrence against China and Pakistan.The new 36 Rafales, to be inducted between 2019 and 2023, will make for only two squadrons.