Parrikar to talk about Rafale with French counterpart

Parrikar to talk about Rafale with French counterpart

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will hold a close door meeting with his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian on Tuesday on the stalled Rafale fighter jet deal.

Talks between both the sides will expectedly be intense as both the countries would like to seal the deal on the purchase before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Paris on an official visit in April.

Le Drian and Parrikar met in December and agreed to fast-track the pending issues in the jet deal, while France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius also met with Indian officials earlier this month.

A technical team from Dassault Aviation –makers of Rafale fighter jets— had also met officials of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to settle the differences.

Parrikar last week said he had asked for a report from the contract negotiations committee on the major sticking points of the deal by end of February or early March.

Mounting costs and the supposed refusal of Dassault to own up liability for the aircrafts manufactured in HAL are thought to be the major disagreements on the deal.

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