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Selling French jet fighters the hard way

The French president is leading the way to India to try and close the deal for a 12 billion dollars contract to sell the Rafale fighter jet. Because the French are desesperate to finally sell this expensive jet fighter to any country, and they are pushing India as these ones have started to listen. Hollande will be accompanied by five ministers including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. The chiefs of more than 60 top French companies will also join him for the two-day trip starting Thursday. Both Indian and French officials have underscored the importance of the trip. A French official said the trip was aimed at buttressing the “strategic Indo-French partnership launched 15 years ago.” Top of the agenda is a giant deal that France’s Dassault Aviation hopes to close to sell 126 Rafale jets to India this year, although it will not be inked during the trip. “Things are moving very fast and we hope that a contract will be finalised as soon as possible but it will not take place during this visit,” a French diplomatic source said. India’s air chief NAK Browne said he hoped the deal would be signed by June. “We want it to happen as early as possible for induction soon,” he added. It has been confirmed that Indian negotiators have detailed their needs for an additional 63 planes over the initial order for 126 aircraft. In a welcome stroke of serendipity for Paris, the planes in question have been showcased in the French military intervention in Mali. Should we assume the intervention in this part of Africa would also help sell the jet fighters ? That would be too sarcastic, but it definitely helps. Under the proposed Rafale deal, the first 18 aircraft are to be made in France with the remainder to be produced under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the state-run Indian aerospace behemoth.

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