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Asia-Pacific

India says fighter jet deal with France still in the works

media Rafale jet fighters at Dassault Aviation near Bordeaux, southwestern France, … RFI

A deal between India and France's Dassault Aviation to buy fighter jets worth 12 billion euro is still underway. This was the announcement made by Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday.

Exclusive negotiations between India and the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation for 126 Rafale jets has been ongoing for the past two years.

It is one of the world’s biggest airline contracts, and will involve the sharing of technology and production of most aircraft in India.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told parliament: "Given the complexity of the case, the process of negotiations with Dassault Aviation on many aspects of the business proposal and terms of a proposed contract continue.”

India is in the process of updating its air force fleet over a period of thirty years.

Brigadier Rahul Bhonsle, a New Delhi based defence analyst told RFI:” I think the deal is going in the right direction. Now we are in the final stages, that is the preparation of costs, and as we have already come a long way with negotiations I don’t foresee that there will be any problems. We have already cleared most of the hurdles.”

He conceded, however that there might be a reduction in the number of orders as a result of the lifecycle of the order that has driven up the costs.

Bhonsle went on to say: “I am quite hopeful that this deal will be signed in this financial year in India, that is by March 2015. Most of the work has been completed.”

The Rafale will replace India's Russian-made fleet of MiG-21 and MiG-27 airplanes.

In a boost for Dassault, India last month said the Rafale deal fully complied with technology transfer requirements spelled out in the tender offer.

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