• France's news in English
 

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

Published: 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
BREAKING NEWS
EU slaps tough budget targets on France
Photo: Sebastian Fuss/Flickr

EU slaps tough budget targets on France

The EU set France tough new targets on Friday to ensure it gets its budget deficit back within Brussels rules, after giving Paris an extra two years until 2017 to comply. READ  

French cartoon event canned over terror fears
French public take to the streets in support of freedom of speech and Charlie Hebdo magazine. Photo: AFP

French cartoon event canned over terror fears

In what represents a blow to freedom of speech, France's international press cartoon festival has been cancelled, because organisers fear it could be the target of the type of terrorist attack seen in Copenhagen and Paris. READ  

Stolen Paris Picasso sent to New York as '€30 gift'
The Pompidou Centre in central Paris where the Picasso was stolen from. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Stolen Paris Picasso sent to New York as '€30 gift'

A Picasso painting that was reported stolen in Paris 14 years ago has turned up in the United States after being sent across the Atlantic via the postal service disguised as a €30 Christmas present. READ  

Pyrénées
Woman dies after being 'caught in snow blower'
A woman has died in the Pyrenees after apparently being sucked into a snow blower. Photo: Msdot/flickr

Woman dies after being 'caught in snow blower'

Police at a ski resort in the Pyrénées are investigating after a young woman died after apparently being sucked into a snow blower. READ  

'France feels like Nazi Germany,' says Madonna
Madonna says that France and Europe feel like Nazi Germany. Photo: AFP

'France feels like Nazi Germany,' says Madonna

Rebounding from her stage tumble at the Brit awards, pop star Madonna told French radio Thursday that "intolerance" was now so high in France and Europe that "it feels like Nazi Germany." READ  

Paris Terror Attacks
Chilling details of Paris store siege made public
The moment police stormed the Kosher store to put an end to Amedy Coulibaly's bloody rampage. Photo: Screen grab/ BFM TV

Chilling details of Paris store siege made public

Details have emerged of the terrifying moments when one of the Paris terrorists stormed a Jewish store before going on a bloody rampage. The gunman had filmed the attack on a go-Pro camera and extracts of the transcript were made public this week. READ  

French hostage crisis
Father of French hostage appeals for 'humanity'
Isabelle Prime, who has been taken hostage in Yemen. Photo: Screengrab/ BFM TV

Father of French hostage appeals for 'humanity'

The father of a French woman taken hostage in Yemen on Tuesday called on her kidnappers "to show their humanity" and set her free along with the Yemeni woman taken at the same time. READ  

Paris: Iron Lady goes green with power of wind
The Iron Lady is going green with old age. Photo: Jacques Demarthon/AFP

Paris: Iron Lady goes green with power of wind

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is making an effort to conserve its energy with two new state of the art wind turbines installed on the second floor, 127 metres off the ground. READ  

'Paris needs a home for English-language theatre'
Is it time for Paris to play host to English-language theatre on a regular basis? Photo: Rach/Flickr

'Paris needs a home for English-language theatre'

As a UK troupe prepares to put on a festival of British theatre in Paris, there have been renewed calls for English-language productions to be given a permanent home amid the French capital's Gallic-dominated arts scene. READ  

Al-Jazeera journalist in court over drone flight
An Al Jazeera journalist will appear in court after he was snared flying a drone in a Pris park. Photo: AFP

Al-Jazeera journalist in court over drone flight

UPDATED: One of three Al-Jazeera journalists arrested for flying a drone in Paris will appear in court next week where he is expected to plead guilty, a judicial source said on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best one to work in?
National
How can France enforce a no-drone zone over Paris?
National
Why do so many women in France smoke throughout their pregnancy?
National
VIDEO: Banned but beautiful - Paris seen through the eyes of a drone
Culture
What's on in France: Ten things to do in March
National
Would you want this Frenchman to squeal at YOUR wedding?
National
'We're back' - Charlie Hebdo magazine returns with a bite
Society
Handsome men on the Paris Metro are unknowingly going viral
Society
What are the little things that make France so different?
National
Should we be worried about drones being flown over Paris?
Travel
Another deadly avalanche in the French Alps
National
Text offences: Why French workers need to watch out in future
Gallery
Mont-Saint-Michel cut off as 'supertide' season opens in France
Gallery
Ten great moments for France throughout Oscar history
Culture
Anglo-French marriage problems begin long before anyone says 'Oui'
Travel
'The stars are aligned': Why now is the time to buy a house in France
National
IN PICTURES: 'Supertide' brings crowds to the French coast
Gallery
French property Face-off: Two luxury chalets in the French Alps
Travel
French coastal towns are braced for the 'tide of the century'
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
Politics
Socialist rebel MPs are angry but not ready to topple French government
Society
France to welcome another US fast food giant
Culture
Les Entrepreneurs: How to watch Paris theatre shows in English
Culture
So where are all these swinging sex clubs in Paris?
Sport
VIDEO: 'We're racist' - Chelsea fans push black man off Paris Metro
Culture
Sex clubs touted as latest fashion in Paris
Culture
In pictures: The ever-colourful Dunkirk carnival
National
Do you worry about your French accent? Perhaps you have no need to
National
VIDEO: 'Fear and loathing' - Being a Jew in Paris
National
Why the DSK trial could spell bad news for French prostitutes
Society
The sorry recent history of anti-Semitic attacks in France
National
'Je suis Danois' - Paris shows solidarity with Copenhagen
Culture
Obituary: Louis Jourdan - The actor who embodied French elegance
National
France outraged after hundreds of Jewish tombs vandalised
Culture
Romance in France: Sex, Champagne and Je t'aime
Culture
Fox News was right, there are no-go zones in Paris (for anyone single)
Culture
Fifty Shades of Grey OK for French 12-year-olds
Culture
French property face-off: Rustic cottage vs manor
Politics
New Muslim party aims for French election wins
Gallery
What do the French get superstitious about?
International
Paris starts lawsuit over Fox News's no-go zones
National
Gun ads see French cops compared to Dirty Harry
Travel
The world's most popular selfie spot has been revealed...
National
Opinion: 'France right to stop baker working too much'
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
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