Rafale Deal Will Take Time: Francois Hollande


Chandigarh: French president Francois Hollande has indicated that the nearly Rs 60,000-crore Rafale jets deal is unlikely to be signed during his current visit although it is on the “right track”.

“The Rafale is a major project for India and France. It will pave the way for an unprecedented industrial and technological cooperation, including ‘Make in India’, for the next 40 years. Agreeing on the technicalities of this arrangement obviously takes time, but we are on the right track”, Hollande told PTI in an interview ahead of his three-day visit beginning Sunday.

India and France are in negotiations for 36 Rafale fighter jets in fly away conditions since the announcement for the deal was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April during his visit to France.

However, the deal is yet to be sealed as both sides are still negotiating the price which is estimated to be about Rs 60,000 crore. A high-level team from France is in Delhi to carrying out last minute negotiations.

The invitation for Hollande to be the chief guest at Tuesday’s Republic Day celebrations had raised hopes that the long drawn-out deal to buy the jets would finally be nailed down.

In his interview with PTI, Hollande said that “the Rafale is a major project for India and France” that would “pave the way for an unprecedented industrial and technological cooperation” for the next four decades.

Answering a question on Pathankot terror strike and that most of the terror attacks in India emanate from Pakistan, Hollande said, “France strongly condemned the attack on Pathankot. India is fully justified to ask for justice against perpetrators.”

“India and France are confronted with similar threats: we are attacked by murderers who pretend to act on religious basis. Their real objective is widespread hate. They want to undermine our democratic values and our way of life. India and France are united in their determination to act together against terrorism”, the French President said in a written interview.