• 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

"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.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France ready to conduct air strikes on Iraq
France's president to hold press conference on Thursday. Photo: AFP

France ready to conduct air strikes on Iraq

During a long-awaited press conference on Thursday, French President François Hollande said he has authorised air strikes in Iraq, joining a US-led effort to stop the lightning advance of Islamic State group militants there. READ  

Ten must-see sites for France’s 'Heritage days'
Here's 10 things not to miss for this weekend's 'Journées du Patrimoine'. Photo: AFP

Ten must-see sites for France’s 'Heritage days'

Once a year France opens the doors on tonnes of fascinating, bizarre and important places that are generally closed to the public. Here are 10 things not to miss this weekend for ‘Heritage days’. READ  

Watchdog urges drop in France’s 'hefty' road tolls
A French government agency says motorway tolls are too high in France. Photo: Motoyen/Flickr

Watchdog urges drop in France’s 'hefty' road tolls

The tolls on France’s privatized motorways are ‘unjustified’ and are delivering an up to 24 percent profit to the companies that run them, a government watchdog says. READ  

Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
Gerard Depardieu says he drinks 14 bottles of booze per day. Photo: John Macdougall/AFP

Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’

Provocative French actor Gérard Dépardieu has revealed the extent of his love for the hard stuff, claiming to drink up to 14 bottles of wine, whisky and Champagne a day. Apparently just making vodka wasn't enough for the "Welcome to New York" star. READ  

France's rail company charged in crash deaths
Photo: AFP

France's rail company charged in crash deaths

France's state-owned railway company was charged with manslaughter on Thursday for the derailment in the Paris suburbs that killed seven people in 2013. A report slammed SNCF for a series of failures that lead to the crash. READ  

Air France pilots threaten 'unlimited' strike
Over half of Air France's flights remained grounded on Thursday due to a pilots' strike. Photo: AFP

Air France pilots threaten 'unlimited' strike

Air France pilots have threatened to continue their strike into a second week because management has not backed down on expanding a low-cost flight company. More than half of Air France flights remain grounded. READ  

Four killed as heavy storms strike France
Flash flooding killed three people in France and left two others missing. Photo: AFP

Four killed as heavy storms strike France

Four people have been killed after flood waters swept through a campground in France after unusually heavy later summer thunderstorms. READ  

First French Ebola patient headed home
The first French Ebola patient was to flown home on Thursday. Photo: AFP

First French Ebola patient headed home

A volunteer with Doctors Without Borders has become the first French person to contract Ebola in the outbreak which is the worst in history and has already claimed more than 2,400 lives READ  

VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar
Here's a sneak peak at France's much anticipated rugby hunk calendar. Photo: Screengrab/StadeFrançais

VIDEO: Making of French rugby hunk calendar

France's annual calendar featuring the country's rugby hunks has unveiled its cover boy for the 2015 edition, but also a video of the making of 'Les Dieux du Stade' that should interest fans of these lightly clothed fellows. READ  

French leader calls factory workers 'illiterate'
A French minister is in hot water after calling factory workers illiterate. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

French leader calls factory workers 'illiterate'

France's whizzkid new economy minister has been begging for forgiveness after referring to women workers at a troubled factory as 'illiterates' just weeks after his boss President François Hollande was accused of calling the poor "toothless". READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
National
'WW2 bomb' kills camper on French island
Does France have a racism problem?
National
National
'Enough gloom, France is an amazing country'
Gallery
The top ten tourist traps to avoid in France
Politics
The juiciest bits from Trierweiler's tell-all book
Politics
Trierweiler tells all: 'Hollande wanted me back, at any price'
Education
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
Politics
Manuel Valls has plenty in common with Tony Blair, but not background
International
Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

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 Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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