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Home / News / World /  India gives go ahead to negotiating team for Rafale purchase

Mumbai: The Indian government instructed its negotiating team to conduct talks with the French government for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets, a government official told reporters in New Delhi.

The decision follows a request made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the French government during his visit to Paris in April that India needs the jets as soon as possible. The government’s Defence Acquisition Council also Tuesday approved purchases of helicopters, missiles and naval tugs, the official said late Tuesday, asking not to be identified by name, citing government policy.

India wants to modernize its air force to keep up with China and Pakistan. About one third of country’s air fleet is more than 40 years old and set to retire in the next decade. The plan to quickly acquire the 36 jets comes after long-drawn negotiations to buy 126 of the Dassault Aviation SA jets from Dassault itself fell through earlier this year as negotiators couldn’t agree on India’s demand for quality guarantees for a portion of the order that would be made locally by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

The 126 planes were valued at $11 billion in a 2007 tender. Bloomberg

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