Free Press Journal

Rafale deal only after inter-governmental agreement: Hollande


French President Francois Hollande (L) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R), visit the Capitol complex on January 24, 2016 in Chandigarh. Hollande is invited to India to be the guest of honour at this year's Republic Day parade on January 26, the final day of a state visit that is expected to focus on trade and security. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

Chandigarh: French President Francois Hollande, who arrived here this afternoon on a three-day visit to India, said further discussions were needed on a prior inter-governmental agreement for the Rafale jets deal.

The French President, who will be the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day celebrations, after his arrival said the idea is to have an inter-governmental agreement between both countries so that the relevant companies are able to get to the end of the process.

“The contract can only be signed after the inter-governmental agreement. It was the wish of our Indian friends that will allow the commercial agreement. The inter-governmental agreement is going to be discussed on this trip,” he said when asked whether the deal would be signed during his visit.

Also read: Modi welcomes Hollande at Chandigarh’s Rock Garden 

The French President said the talks with regard to the nearly Rs. 60,000 crore Rafale deal was progressing.

“It goes in the direction, we all hope, of India acquiring 36 Rafales because India needs them and France demonstrated that they were the best planes in the world,” Hollande said.

“You do know that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Paris, he announced himself the order of 36 planes, but with certain conditions,” he added.

During his Paris visit last year, Prime Minister Modi had announced that India would buy 36 Rafales in flyaway condition, but after commercial negotiations with the manufacturer Dassault Aviation collapsed, both leaders ordered government-to-government talks.