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India, France sign MOU on Rafale deal, finances yet to be agreed

New Delhi: The talks on a likely Rafale combat jets deal between India and France moved a step ahead as both countries on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding(MOU) to buy 36 jets.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that both the countries have reached an inter-governmental agreement and the “financial aspects will be sorted out soon”.

Rafalle deal was one of the important points in the agenda of both the countries, raising expectations that the French President’s visit may lead up to the culmination of the deal.

Indian and French officials have undergone multiple discussions for nailing down a deal for India to buy 36 Rafale fighters jets made by the French company Dassault.

“We are very happy that we have formed an agreement for purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft with France,” Modi said at a joint address with French President Francois Hollande after 13 agreements including the Rafale MoU were signed. “We will resolve the financial aspects soon,” he said.

PM Modi had earlier said that he was honoured to welcome the French President as the guest for the Republic Day celebrations in Delhi.

“President Hollande is a very close friend of India,” Modi said.

PM Modi added that business anad economic ties are a vital component of India-French ties. Had a fruitful meeting with CEOs in Chandigarh.

France’s Minister for Finance and Public Accounts Michel Sapin today said French companies have been investing billions in India and he expects that they will invest over USD 10 billion in the next five years.

Sapin said France is the third-biggest foreign investor in India with an investment stock of USD 20 billion and there are more than 400 French companies present in India with a consolidated turnover of over USD 20 billion.

“The majority of these investments are meant for the industrial sector. This makes France a major player in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India programme. This complementarity can also been seen in the context of other programmes of the Indian government,” Sapin said.

The minister added that France has directed French Development Agency to earmark 60 per cent of total financial outlay to India.

“The economic presence of France in India goes back to a long time and is very diverse. This expression of interest in India did not wait for Indian GDP to supersede that of China,” Sapin said.

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