Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday has confirmed that the first Rafale aircraft will reach India by next month.
Macron confirmed the news after the bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chantilly, a historical town located about 50 kilometres north of Paris.
In September 2016, India had signed a deal with the French government and Dassault Aviation to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets for Euro 7.8 billion to arrest the fall of combat squadrons and meet urgent requirements on the eastern and western fronts. The aircraft will arrive in India from May next year.
The officials said the Indian Rafale is far more advanced than the ones operating with the French Air Force and because of which the plane would continue to be used for training Indian pilots till May next year.
A statement was issued after the bilateral talks and it said that India and France expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the implementation of agreements signed, particularly the delivery of the first Rafale combat aircraft from this year.
“They reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen cooperation in defence industry filed and extended their support to existing and upcoming partnerships between the defence companies of the two countries in the spirit of “Make in India” and for the mutual benefit of both countries,” the statement said.
“Both sides noted with satisfaction that Indian MSMEs are increasingly becoming part of global supply chains of French Defence and Aerospace OEMs and reaffirmed to give further impetus to this trend. They welcomed the ongoing collaboration between aerospace and defence industrial associations of both countries, SIDM for India and GIFAS for France” it added.