Prime Minister Narendra Modi may reach a breakthrough on a long-delayed deal to buy Rafale fighter jets from France in talks with the French president on Friday, reports said. India’s government has been in negotiations since 2012 to buy 126 Rafale jets from France’s Dassault Aviation, but the estimated $12 billion dollar deal has hit roadblocks over cost and assembly of the planes.
Reports said ahead of talks between Modi and French President Francois Hollande on Friday that the government was considering a direct purchase of a smaller number of jets to accelerate the acquisition and replace its ageing stock.
The Hindustan Times said the government was “seriously considering a strategic purchase of up to 40 Rafales for the Indian Air Force” due to “operational necessity”, with further purchases later.
It quoted an unnamed source as saying a new deal could be worked out this year, with the exact number of planes depending on the final price.