The purchase of French Rafale fighter jets that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced during his last visit to the country could be concluded in about 10 days, a source with knowledge of the talks told Reuters on Friday.
In April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had ordered 36 "ready-to-fly" Rafale fighters to modernise his country's warplane fleet, dealing directly with the French government after three years of inconclusive negotiations with the plane's manufacturer, Dassault.
"Things are getting better with India," the source said. "An agreement could be seen in about 10 days."
Modi had said the Rafale jets were being bought due to the “critical operational necessity” of the IAF. The 36 jets will be delivered according to a timeframe compatible to the IAF’s requirements, and weapons, systems and aircraft would be of the same configuration as approved by the IAF and with a longer maintenance responsibility for France.
India requires 45 combat squadrons to counter a two-front threat from China and Pakistan but has only 34 squadrons with about 18 aircraft each. The new jets will be adequate for two squadrons.