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SOURCE: NARAYAN APTE/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

PM Modi will be traveling to Portugal for the India-EU Summit being held under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, and later will continue on the second leg of his tour to France for a bilateral visit according to media reports. France has been building up diplomatic pressure on India to press fresh orders for 36 more Rafale jets since deliveries for the first 36 jets ordered by India are almost coming to an end by this year.

Media reports hint that if an order for 36 jets is placed now, it will take France the same amount of time to manufacture them and deliver them to Indian that will be close to three years after inking of the contract due to which some level of urgency needs to be shown so that number of fleet type is build up and with more Rafale induction, IAF BVR-AAM Edge is back after induction of the Very Long Ranged Meteor BVRAAM.

The second batch of 36 Rafale fighter jets should come at a cheaper price since the first batch has already had covered for the development of the 13 Indian specific enhancements that make Indian made Rafale more unique than the one that is made for the French air force. Indian Government also has dropped a 30% offset clause that will again make it much cheaper than the first lot, which had a mandatory offset clause that required French companies involved in the supply chain of the Rafale to buy from Indian companies in return.

While IAF is still making case for the induction of 114 fighter jets of foreign origin and Dassault Rafale seems to be the logical choice but it is not clear if the Talks on the Transfer of Technology (ToT) of the core elements of the jets was resolved and it is unlikely that the deal for the jet is going to be completed anytime soon. Either India should go for 36+36 of Rafale deal over the first lot of 36 Rafale jets and scrap the tender for 114 fighter jets. or place an order for the second lot of 36 Rafale jets and reduce the number of Make In India Rafale to be ordered from 114 jets.

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