India and France Negotiate Deal for 26 Rafale M Fighter Jets

India and France Negotiate Deal for 26 Rafale M Fighter Jets

India and France are currently engaged in critical negotiations for the procurement of 26 Rafale Marine fighter jets for the Indian Navy. These talks, initially scheduled for May 30 but postponed to June due to the Lok Sabha election process, are focusing on pricing and other key aspects of the deal.

The French delegation, including officials from their Directorate General of Armament, is in New Delhi to discuss the sale of these advanced aircraft to India.

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The proposed deal, estimated to be worth over Rs 50,000 crore (approximately $6 billion), would significantly boost India’s naval air capabilities. If finalized, this acquisition would increase India’s total Rafale fleet to 62 aircraft, complementing the 36 Rafale jets already in service with the Indian Air Force.

The Rafale Marine fighters are intended for deployment on India’s aircraft carriers, INS Vikramatritya and INS Vikrant, enhancing the country’s maritime defense capabilities.

France submitted its response to India’s tender for the 26 Rafale Marine jets in December of the previous year, responding to India’s Letter of Acceptance.

The current negotiations are being conducted on a government-to-government basis, with India’s Directorate General of Acquisition under the Ministry of Defence leading the talks alongside military officers representing the end-users. The Indian side is working to secure the most favorable terms possible in this strategic acquisition.

The Indian Navy plans to base these aircraft at INS Degha in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, as their home station. This deployment will significantly enhance India’s naval air power projection capabilities in the Indian Ocean region.

The acquisition of these advanced fighter jets aligns with India’s broader strategy to modernize its armed forces and strengthen its maritime defense posture, particularly in light of evolving geopolitical dynamics in the Indo-Pacific region.

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