For the first time after India cleared the proposal to buy 26 Rafale Marine aircraft for the Indian Navy, a team headed by French defence ministry officials met their Indian counterparts here. The French team was headed by an official who is in charge of Asia in their Directorate General of Armament while the Indian team included personnel from the Navy, which will be the user, the sources told ANI.
The meeting took place last week and multiple points were taken up for the Defence Cyber Agency (Dcya) soon, they said. In the negotiations with France, the Indian Navy would be represented by Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Janak Bevli. The two sides have to form a contract negotiating team in a similar way as they had done during the Indian Air Force deal in 2016.
Sources said this was the first time that the two sides met after India announced the plan to buy 26 Rafale Marines officially after clearing a proposal in Defence Acquisition Council meeting. The Indian side also has to send a letter of request or a request for proposal to the French government for the deal for which the cut-off date would be eight weeks after the approval by the DAC, sources said. India and France have held multiple meetings prior to the approval given by the defence ministry. The French Rafale once more defeated the American F-18 to bag the Indian contract.
The French side has stated that if required, it can increase the rate of production to 30 aircraft per year from the existing 18 per year. The French have received multiple orders from different countries after India first selected it for its requirement for 126 Multirole combat aircraft deal where all participants were made to go through a rigorous trial procedure. India would be requesting the integration of its indigenous missiles including the Astra air-to-air missile as part of the package from France. The configuration of the aircraft is expected to be similar to what has been provided to the Indian Air Force.
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