The French engine manufacturer of the Rafale fighter jet, Safran, told Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday that the company should not be “terrorised” with India’s tax and customs rules, PTI reported.
Safran Aircraft Engines Chief Executive Officer Olivier Andries told Singh during a presentation near Paris that the firm plans to invest $150 million (Rs 1,066 crore) in India. He added: “India is set to become the third largest commercial market for aviation and we are keen to create a strong maintenance and repair base in India to serve customers. But we need to make sure that the Indian tax and customs system is not terrorising us.”
“We have a long association with India and all Indian airlines are our customers,” Andries said. “We are hopeful and optimistic that we will have a positive reception to our expansion plans. We are keen to share the know how and create an engine ecosystem in India.” Andries told Singh details of the company’s collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and reiterated Safran’s commitment to the Make in India and Skill India.
Singh assured Andries that India was committed to providing the “right climate” for investments under the Make in India initiative. Singh also invited Safran to participate in the DefExpo in Lucknow in February next year, an invitation which was accepted.
Singh took a tour of Safran’s assembly line near the French capital of Paris. “Visited the Engine Manufacturing Facility of Safran at Villaroche near Paris today,” Singh tweeted later. “Safran is known for its engine making capabilities. They have also developed the engine for Rafale.”
Singh had on Tuesday received India’s first Rafale jet from France, at a ceremony in Paris, and flew a sortie in it.
An inter-governmental agreement was signed between India and France in September 2016 to procure 36 fighter jets worth Rs 59,000 crore. The deal was controversial ahead of the General Elections earlier this year because the Congress alleged wrongdoing and favouritism by the government. Even though the Union minister was officially handed over one of the 36 aircraft, the first batch of four jets will arrive in India only by May next year.
On Wednesday, Singh said he had “fruitful deliberations” with his French counterpart Florence Parly. “Had fruitful deliberations with the French Minister of Armed Forces, Ms Florence Parly during the Annual Defence Dialogue in Paris,” Singh tweeted. “We assessed and reviewed the full spectrum of our bilateral defence engagement.”
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