The Modi government has ‘reportedly’ finalised another deal with France for the procurement of 36 more Rafale fighter jets. While India has already placed an order of 36 Rafale fighters, an additional 36 jets ordered in the new deal will take the strength of fleet to 72 giving an enormous boost to India’s aerial defence and combat capabilities.
The Indian Air Force was handed the first Rafale jet recently however the official hand over will take place on October 8 when Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh will be in France for an official visit.
The Indian Air Force for long had been complaining about its depleting fleet of fighter jets especially when security challenges from Pakistan and China continue to rise. The new order for 36 additional Rafale jets will be inked in 2020 as per media reports.
US persuading India to purchase F-16 jets
As India continues to be a large defence market for global superpowers, the US is trying to convince India to purchase F-16 or F-21 fighter jets developed and designed by Lockheed Martin.
Swedish defence giant SAAB too is keen hold meetings with Indian authorities to pitch the sale of its Gripen-E aircraft. Gripen-E aircraft, however, do not seem much comparable to what Rafale and France have to offer to India.
The recent developments in India’s foreign policy and global affairs hint at the fact that France is gradually replacing Russia as India’s premier ally. This new vibe in India-France relations can be felt ever since France sided by India in the recent UNSC meet on Kashmir.