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Centre gives initial nod to buy French Rafale jets, submarines

The two big-ticket projects are expected to cost around Rs 80,000-Rs 85,000 crore.
Last Updated : 13 July 2023, 22:31 IST

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Before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plane touched down in Paris, the Defence Ministry on Thursday approved the purchase of 26 Rafale-Marines from France in a government-to-government contract besides the procurement of three additional diesel-electric submarines that will be built at Mazgaon dock in Mumbai using French technology.

The approval was granted by the Defence Acquisition Council, headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, clearing the decks for the Prime Minister to make an official announcement after the bilateral talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The timing of the approval, sources said, was noteworthy because of the controversy the previous Rafale deal generated with the opposition parties blaming the prime minister for announcing the 36-jet deal for the IAF without the defence ministry's approval.

The two big-ticket projects are expected to cost around Rs 80,000-Rs 85,000 crore, but the final price will depend on the negotiations between the two countries.

The defence ministry said the procurement of the Rafale jets along with associated ancillary equipment including weapon systems and spares would be based on an inter-governmental agreement and that price and other terms of purchase would be negotiated with the French government after taking into account all relevant aspects including the cost in which France sold the aircraft to other countries.

Also, the integration of Indian-designed equipment and establishment of a Maintenance, Repair & Operations Hub for various systems will be incorporated into the contract documents after due negotiations, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Four of the 26 Rafale-M jets, the naval variant of the deck-based platform, will be trainer aircraft. The delivery of the aircraft, to be manufactured by French giant Dassault Aviation, will begin within three years of the signing of the contract.

The ministry also cleared the procurement of three French-origin Scorpene class submarines that will be constructed by Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai. The three new submarines will have a higher level of indigenous content than the six earlier made by the MDL using technology provided by the French major the Naval Group. The procurement of the three Scorpene-class submarines will be a follow-on order.

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Published 13 July 2023, 08:43 IST

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