In a major development, India is planning to buy 26 Rafale fighter aircraft and three Scorpene class conventional submarines from France. The proposals have been placed before the Defence Ministry by the defence forces and are likely to be announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France this week, government sources told ANI.
As per the proposals, the Indian Navy will get 22 single-seated Rafale Marine aircraft along with four trainer aircraft. The Navy had been pressing for acquiring these fighter aircraft and submarines urgently as they have been facing shortages in view of the security challenges around the country. The aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and Vikrant have been operating the MiG-29s and need the Rafales for operations on both carriers. Meanwhile, the three Scorpene class submarines would be acquired under the repeat clause by the Navy as part of Project 75 where they would be built in the Mazagon Dockyards Limited in Mumbai. The deals are estimated to be worth over Rs 90,000 crore but the final cost would be clear only after the contract negotiations are completed which will be held after the deal is announced.
India is likely to seek price concessions in the deal and would be insisting on having more ‘Make-in-India’ content in the plan, sources said. Industry sources said for the Rafale M deal, India and France are expected to form a joint team to negotiate the deal like it was done for the previous Rafale deal for 36 fighter aircraft. The proposals have been discussed in the defence ministry at high-level meetings already and are likely to be placed before the defence acquisition council in the next few days and expected to be accorded Acceptance of Necessity by the government before the announcement in France. (ANI)