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Rafale deal may be inked next week

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Rafale deal may be inked next weekThe big ticket deal for 36 Rafale jets is likely to be signed on September 23, reports said on Thursday.

The Defence Ministry however did not give any official confirmation of the date.

Reports added that French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will be in India for the signing of the deal.

According to sources, the deal is likely to cost 7.87 billion euros, after a tough negotiation from the Indian side which also led to delay in finalisation of the deal. This includes weapons and spares, apart from 36 jets in flyaway condition. This also includes air-to-air Meteor missiles.

Sources said the deal is close to finalisation, and will go to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) soon.

A team from France in also present in the national capital, and both sides are keen to conclude the deal soon.

According to sources, the Prime Minister’s Office has pushed for concluding the deal early, after more than year-long negotiations, in which price was a major sticking point.

In 2012, India decided to ink a deal for 126 Rafale jets.

As the deal could not work out, another deal for purchasing 36 Rafale combat jets in fly-away condition was inked during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in April last year.

Both the sides also agreed to conclude an inter-governmental agreement for supply of the aircraft after which a negotiating team was constituted.

In an interview to IANS in May, Parrikar had said the deal is in the final stages and would be concluded in “a couple of months”.

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