Bringing an end to the 17-month-long dialogue, the much-anticipated indenture for 36 Rafale fighter jets is likely to be inked soon as both India and France have finalised the draft on the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA ).
French Defence Minister Jean Yves Le Drian is likely to visit India on September 23, to seal the deal. The draft shall be then sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for formal clearance.
The contract, running into several thousand pages, is being now scrutinised by an official team from France along with their Indian counterparts
After several rounds of tough negotiations between the two nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision for direct purchase of total 36 Rafale jets in ‘fly-away’ condition, in April 2014.
The final deal is expected to cost about Euro 7.87 billion, translating to over Rs. 55,000 crores, depending on the currency fixation in the contract.
Keeping in mind the Indian Air Force requirements, the jets will be custom-built and delivered by 2019, with an annual inflation capped at 3.5 per cent, with the sovereign guarantee by the French government.
The aircraft will also come with inbuilt new-age, beyond-visual-range-missile ‘Meteor’, and Israeli helmet mounted display.
Rafale was originally selected under the Medium Multi-Role combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contest for 126 aircraft but the tender was subsequently withdrawn with no resolution in sight.