France offers fresh price to New Delhi for 36 Rafale fighters

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Rafale fighter jet.
Rafale fighter jet.

There are chances the deal between India and France over purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets may move forward as Paris has made its ‘best price’ offer.

France has asked India to pay 7.25 billion Euros for 36 new jets, a deal which has been stuck for the past several months only on the pricing issue.

France has quoted the lowest price for the fighters so far, though a weapons package is likely to be negotiated separately.

The offer for 7.25 billion Euros for the 36 aircraft would also include a clause—French companies such as Dassault and Thales will invest in Indian defence and security sector.

Officials engaged in the talks told Economic Times the French offer came two weeks ago and could be the price offered under a government to government deal for the Rafale fighter jets.

The new price is far from the original 8.8 billion Euro figure that was quoted for the deal by the Bharatiya Janata Party and was advertised by its IT department as a major win for the Modi government.

Officials say the talks will move forward only after weighing the Indian response to the offer. The two sides are negotiating a five-year support package for the jets, down from the 10-year one discussed earlier.

“The Rafale deal is in quite an advanced stage and the government plans to close it soon,” said defence minister Manohar Parrikar.