France concerned over delay in JV

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Even as France remained confident over a deal to supply 126 Rafale fighter jets to India, its foreign minister Laurent Fabius expressed concern over a prolonged delay of an Indo-French joint venture to develop short-range, surface-to-air missile (SR-SAM) project.

In 2007, India’s DRDO and France’s MBDA began talks on a Rs 30,000 crore project named ‘Maitri’ to jointly development and produce the short-range, surface-to-air missile. After six years of negotiations, in February 2013, a MoU to co-develop these SR-SAM was signed.

The venture aims to fill the capability gap of air defence with the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy; the Navy and the Air Force are estimated to require at least 100 Maitri systems each. Sources say that the signing of SR-SAM project will demonstrate the NDA government’s priority.

“The French delegation headed by their foreign minister raised concern over the delay of critical SR-SAM deal, which has been in limbo for years.

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