India-France Seal Long-awaited Rafale Fighter Jet Deal

India signed a deal to buy 36 rafale fighter jets from France today for close to 7.8 billion euros, the country’s first major acquisition of fighter planes for two decades. France’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves le Drian inked the agreement with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi, ending almost 18 months of wrangling over financial terms between New Delhi and Dassault aviation, the jet’s manufacturer. The acquisition is part of a 150-billion dollar military overhaul India has launched. India’s cabinet had cleared the purchase of the Rafale jets from France’s Dassault aviation on Wednesday. Under the deal, India will get 36 Rafale jets ready to go straight into service. India’s fighter aircraft fleet, comprising Russian, British and French planes, is down to 33 squadrons as against the air force’s requirement of 45. India, the world’s biggest arms importer, had intended to buy 126 rafale planes before several years worth of talks with dassault broke down and indian pm modi and french president francois hollande stepped in last year to agree on the smaller purchase.

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