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France hopes to conclude Rafale deal with India in 2-3 months

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PARIS (PTI): France on Tuesday said it expects to conclude its sale of 36 Rafale fighter jets to India within the next 2-3 months and French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will soon travel to New Delhi in this regard.

The deal was announced in April under which French manufacturer Dassault Aviation will sell 35 of these jets to India in a deal estimated at over US$ 5.5 billion.

"I'll be going to India very soon to see how things are coming along, but I have no concerns it will happen," Le Drian said at the Paris International Air Show.

"The discussions with the Indian authorities are progressing very well," he said.

Le Drian held a meeting with Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for Defence, on the sidelines of the show while further discussions will take place on Wednesday.

Asked how long until a final deal would be concluded, he said "in the order of two or three months".

India has in recent years launched a vast defence modernisation programme worth about US$ 100 billion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to end India's dependence on arms import and to have 70 per cent of hardware manufactured within the country.

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