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France asks India to finalise joint missile project soon


An unrelated photo of the Russian SA-2 Guideline missile system.

NEW DELHI (PTI): France has asked India for early finalisation of the long-pending Rs 30,000-crore project for joint production of short-range surface-to-air missile (SR-SAM) systems.

In a letter, the French Defence Ministry has told its Indian counterpart that "it will carry out substantial transfer of technology and know-how, especially in the field of missile guidance".

The French side has proposed that the project "would enable India to get in a few years in areas of strategic missile, the maximum autonomy you have called for".

SR-SAM is proposed to be a joint venture between India and France and they have nominated the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and a French multinational firm for the programme.

The deal has been under negotiations for over five years and has been awaiting final clearance after French President Francois Hollande and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2013 announced that talks have been concluded between both the sides on the missile development project.

The IAF had raised certain objections over the programme but the Defence Ministry has to take a final call on the programme after holding discussions with all stakeholders.

The French Defence Ministry said it wants to actively participate in new Indian government's plans to achieve autonomy in the field of military hardware production.

It has said that the missile programme would help in meeting India's domestic market and can also be supplied to future export markets.

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