France hopes to seal Indian jet deal in 9 months

The Rafale has been selected by India as its preferred next generation interceptor.

Paris: France is confident that it can sign
and seal a firm USD 12 billion deal to supply India with 126
Rafale fighter jets "within six to nine months", government
spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse said on Wednesday.

The Rafale, a modern multi-role jet built by Dassault
Aviation, has been selected by India as its preferred next
generation interceptor, but details of the immense contract
remain to be ironed out.

"It needs to be finalised, but the French offer is the
most competitive and that has been recognised by our
partners," Pecresse said, after President Nicolas Sarkozy
hailed the deal at a cabinet meeting.

India announced yesterday it had selected the French firm
Dassault over the Eurofighter consortium for "exclusive
negotiations" as the preferred bidder in a contract estimated
to be worth USD 12 billion.

If concluded, the contract would mark the first time the
jet had found an export partner, despite being in service with
the French military since 1998 and having proved itself in
several conflicts.


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