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India to get Rafale planes on IAF-approved configuration: Parrikar

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Rafale fighters.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The 36 Rafale combat planes and associated systems and weapons would be delivered in the same configuration as had been tested and approved by the Indian Air Force, and with a longer maintenance responsibility by France, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Tuesday.

As per the India-France Joint Statement issued during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France earlier this year, the Indian government conveyed to France that in view of the critical operational necessity for multirole combat aircraft for IAF, it would like to acquire 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition as quickly as possible.

The two leaders agreed to conclude an inter-governmental agreement for supply of the aircraft on terms that would be better than conveyed by Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of the combat plane, as part of a separate process underway and the delivery would be in time-frame that would be compatible with the operational requirement of IAF, he said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

The aircraft and associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the same configuration as had been tested and approved by IAF, and with a longer maintenance responsibility by France, he said.

A negotiating team has been constituted to negotiate the terms and conditions of the procurement of 36 Rafale jet planes and recommend the draft agreement.

The meetings of the Indian negotiating team with the French side have commenced, Parrikar said.

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