Free Press Journal

Rafale deal likely to figure during French Foreign Minister’s visit


New Delhi: The multi-billion dollar Rafale combat aircraft deal, the Jaitapur nuclear power plant and climate change are expected to figure prominently during talks French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ will have with Indian leaders during his two-day visit here starting Monday.

The two sides are also likely to discuss the over Rs 20,000 crore Maitri surface-to-air missile system project alongside holding parleys on the regional and global security situation including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

The Rafale deal, estimated to be over Rs 60,000 crore, is also expected to come up during the talks along with the SR-SAM project, which is in the final stages of negotiations between the two governments, sources said here.

India had selected the French Rafale combat aircraft two years ago but the negotiations are still continuing between Indian Defence Ministry and the French firm Dassault Aviation as there have been issues over pricing and work-sharing between the two sides.

During the interaction between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Fabius, the two sides are expected to take up Jaitapur nuclear power project where the two countries are planning installation of six nuclear power plants in a phased manner, the sources said.

The French side was waiting for the new government to assume office in Delhi to restart negotiations as it wanted to know the approach of the new dispensation under Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of using nuclear energy, they said.

Asked if the French side was comfortable with the nuclear liability laws of India, the sources said the French government wanted to understand and discuss with India about the way the liability laws would be implemented and its possible consequences.