India and France on Friday signed a deal worth €7.87 billion (Rs 59,300 crore approximately) for 36 Rafale fighter jets, ANI reported. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in India on Thursday to ink the aircraft agreement. This is India’s first fighter jet deal in two decades.
According to the agreement, India will also get spare aircraft, Meteor missiles and other weaponry from France’s Dassault Aviation, which makes the jets. Delivery of the aircraft is expected to begin in three years.
Government officials said they have been able to bring down the price of the aircraft by about €600 million (Rs 4,500 crore approximately) from the earlier quotation in January after tough negotiations. Out of the total cost, 50% will be covered under offset, meaning either France will reinvest this amount in India or buy equipment of this value from India. However, the agreement also says that there could be a 10% increase in the price on the follow-on order.