• France edition
 
Hollande 'to clinch' $12 billion jet deal with India
A Dassault Rafale fighter jet, pictured in December 2011. Photo: François Nascimbeni/AFP

Hollande 'to clinch' $12 billion jet deal with India

Published: 07 Feb 2013 09:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Feb 2013 09:07 GMT+01:00

France's Dassault Aviation hopes to conclude its $12-billion deal to sell Rafale jets to India this year, with negotiations set to be taken up by President Francois Hollande next week.

"The ideal would be to sign it in 2013," Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier told AFP in an interview about the world's biggest defence deal at India's air show in Bangalore.

"It's not that surprising that it takes a bit of time," he said, pointing out that the contract involved production of 126 state-of-the-art fighters in France and India over a 15-20 year period.

He also confirmed Indian negotiators had detailed their needs for an additional 63 planes beyond the initial order of 126, as reported after a visit by India's Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid to Paris in January.

"It's to let us know that they'll need the assembly lines for a long time," he said.

Hollande is to visit New Delhi on February 14-15 on his first trip to India since being elected in May. Trappier will be in the delegation. "I don't think there are military aircraft sales without good political relations," said Trappier.

Dassault is one of the big names at this week's Aero India as it shows off the Rafale which beat competition from six rivals from Russia, the US and Europe last year.

Exclusive negotiations are under way to determine the final price and amount of technology transfers, with Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony giving an indication of the complexities involved in news conference on Wednesday.

The deal will have to pass through "six or seven layers" of vetting before being presented to the finance ministry and the cabinet committee on security.
 

Antony, seen as a clean operator in India's notoriously dirty politics, also said his officials would ensure "no malpractice is there" and denied budget cuts in his ministry would have an impact on "the mother of all contracts".

France is desperate to make its first foreign sale of the Rafale, which has struggled to find buyers after investments of tens of billions of euros.

The conclusion of the deal has been repeatedly delayed. India initially set a target of the end of last year, which slipped to the end of the current fiscal year in March.

Hollande will be followed days later in Delhi by British Prime Minister David Cameron who has lobbied on behalf of the Eurofighter, a rival jet made by a partly British consortium which is ready to step in if Dassault fails.

Under the proposed Rafale deal, the first 18 aircraft are to be made in France with the remainder to be produced under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the state-run Indian aerospace behemoth.

Dassault must conclude licence deals with about 20-30 different Indian partners, according to Trappier. "We've done more than half of the work so far," he said.

The French group has also formed a joint venture with the Indian conglomerate Reliance, which has no former military production experience but will be involved as a supplier.

Indian Foreign Minister Khurshid likened the negotiations to a fine French wine while in Paris. "The contract details are being worked out. A decision has already been taken, just wait a little for the cork to pop and you'll have some good wine to taste," he said.

The Rafale has carried out bombing missions in Afghanistan, Libya and most recently in Mali, where it is currently flying sorties targeting Islamist militants.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Threat letter to French mosque praises far right
A mosque in the Paris suburbs has gotten a threat tied to the recent election of far-right National Front mayor. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Threat letter to French mosque praises far right

After pork products turned up in the mailbox of a suburban Paris mosque along with a threatening letter praising the town's recently elected far-right National Front mayor, muslims are concerned about a "worrying" local shift. READ () »

'Slavery' protesters slash hundreds of Velib' tires
Hundreds of Velib' bike tires slashed in 'slavery' protest. Photo: Cyril Folliot/AFP

'Slavery' protesters slash hundreds of Velib' tires

Far-left activists slashed the tires on over 360 Velib’ bikes in Paris this week in protest of the ‘slave’ labour the programme’s operator uses to repair vandalized bikes. The vandals could themselves end up 'slave' labour. READ () »

New scandal means more bad news for president
France's president was smacked with his administration's latest embarrassing scandal. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

New scandal means more bad news for president

The latest blow to struggling President François Hollande came on Friday when a close aide quit over allegations he'd used taxpayer money to support a posh lifestyle and appeared to have breached conflict of interest barriers. READ () »

French bank bosses to explain 'indecent' pay
France's economy minister wants bank bosses to explain their "indecent" pay. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

French bank bosses to explain 'indecent' pay

France’s economy minister, outraged by huge pay hikes the bosses of the country’s biggest banks have awarded themselves in the past year, called the chiefs to a meeting to “explain” their “indecent” pay. READ () »

Eurostar: Major train delays after two incidents
Multiple incident snarl Eurostar traffic during Easter rush. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

Eurostar: Major train delays after two incidents

Hundreds of travelers on Eurostar trains between Paris and London saw hours of delays and cancellations on Thursday night due to back-to-back technical and fatal incidents. Service was supposed to be back to normal on Friday. READ () »

Police finish DNA sweep in hunt for school rapist
Police have finished an unprecedented DNA collection in the hunt for a rapist. Photo: Xavier Leoty/AFP

Police finish DNA sweep in hunt for school rapist

All 527 male students and staff at a private school in France have turned over their DNA as part of an unprecedented hunt for whoever raped a girl in a campus bathroom. One student who'd refused relented under prosecutors' pressure. READ () »

‘France needs to change its response to crime’
France prison's have hit a new record for overcrowding. Photo: Damien Meyer/AFP

‘France needs to change its response to crime’

This month France had more prisoners behind bars than ever before in its history, according to statistics unveiled on Thursday. An expert on the country's penal system told The Local that Sarkozy-era sentencing laws are largely to blame. READ () »

Burgundy 'will be ruined by wind farms'
Will Burgundy's worldwide reputation suffer because of windfarms? Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

Burgundy 'will be ruined by wind farms'

The famous Burgundy region of France is synonymous with its vineyards but its image will soon be ruined, campaigners say, by the planned construction of new wind turbines. They say their chances of gaining UNESCO world heritage status are threatened. READ () »

VIDEO: Inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats
Here is a video look inside Paris's first-ever hotel just for cats. Photo: Lisa Winderberg/Flickr

VIDEO: Inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats

It was only a matter of time before the world’s most visited city extended its luxury lodging options to pets as well. Here's a look inside Paris’s first ever hotel just for cats, which naturally comes complete with a "gourmet" food menu and a games room. READ () »

French government's austerity denial 'a joke'
Some €50 billion cuts and freezes in benefits are not austerity, the French government says. That's a joke, say analysts. Photo: Pierre Andrieu/AFP

French government's austerity denial 'a joke'

After announcing a raft of spending cuts and benefits freezes this week the French government was at pains to stress that the country was not undergoing “austerity” as it faces a rebellion among its ranks. Analysts dismissed ministers' efforts as "a joke". READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
VIDEO: Take a look inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats
Education
French parents are the most laidback about their kids' education. True?
Tech
What do French TV viewers complain about the most? Yes it's English
Business & Money
French tax declarations: The key points to remember
Gallery
French slang: Everyday words you need to know (but use cautiously)
National
Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh neighbourhood
International
VIDEO: ‘Anti-French’ Cadillac ad sparks anger in France. See why.
Features
Buying property in France? Here's 10 things you need to think about
National
What will the future map of France look like? The answer lies within.
Politics
'The 27 French regions aren't the problem, it's the 36,000 towns'
Culture
Ex underage call girl Zahia picked to embody Marie Antoinette
Gallery
Buying a house in France? Ten things you need to think about
Advertisement:
National
France bans work emails after 6pm! Sadly it's not quite true.
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why don't the French do charity? Is it down to taxes?
Society
VIDEO: The Paris zoo is back but this time the animals are in charge
National
This will be the most expensive road in France - Only €1.66bn for 12km!
Society
Only in France? Gourmet pensioners party lands village in hot water
National
What's the worst thing to do when you realise you're on the wrong train?
From showers to kissing: Anglos tell Twitter what's weird about France
National
'A big quake will hit France and there will be casualties' - Scientist warns
Culture
After all the dozens of books is France still worth writing about?
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Opinion
Paris or the suburbs - where would you live?
National
VIDEO: Walk the line - crossing the Seine on a tightrope
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se