July 11, 2023
NEW DELHI – India is soon likely to commit buying 26 Rafale fighter aircraft and three Scorpene class conventional submarines from France. The deal is likely to be announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France this week.
Prime Minister Modi will be the Guest of Honour at the Bastille Day Parade (France’s National Day) celebrations in Paris on July 14.
The proposals were placed before the Defence Ministry by the defence forces. If the deal goes through, the Indian Navy will get 22 single-seater Rafale Marine aircraft along with four trainer aircraft. The Indian Navy had been asking for these fighter aircraft and submarines urgently due to acute shortage, and keeping the uncertain security challenges the country faces along the international border.
The proposals have already been discussed in the Defence ministry at the highest level. They will be placed before the defence acquisition council in the coming days after which ‘Acceptance of Necessity’ will be accorded by the government before making the announcement in France.
Rafales are likely to replace MiG-29s on the aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and Vikrant. The three Scorpene class submarines would be acquired and built in the Mazagon Dockyards Limited in Mumbai.
The deals are going to be worth more than Rs 90,000 crore. However, the final and total cost would be clear only after the contract negotiations are carried out. All these formalities will take place after the deal is announced.
India will seek price concessions in the deal and would be insisting on having more ‘Make-in-India’ content in the plan, according to the news report.
A joint team to negotiate the deal will be formed by India and France as was done when the previous Rafale deal was signed when India bought 36 fighter aircraft from France.
The Indian Army will be represented by the Punjab Regiment at the Bastille Day celebrations in France. The parade will include a strong 269-member delegate of the Indian Armed Forces comprised of all three services — Air Force, Indian Navy and Army.