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SOURCE: ANI

India is bargaining hard for getting a better price during the ongoing negotiation with France for buying 26 Rafale Marine jets in a deal expected to go beyond Rs 50,000 crore. The second round of negotiations between India and France started on Monday and is expected to continue for the next 10-12 days, defence sources told ANI. In the deal where the French offer is estimated to be over Rs 50,000 crore for the complete contract including weapons, the Indian side wants a better price, sources said.

The French offer includes the packages for integrating Indian weapons on the fighter aircraft including the Astra air-to-air missile, India-specific enhancements, landing equipment for the aircraft to carry out operations from the aircraft carrier and other related equipment, they said. The French side has showcased the landing and take-off capabilities of the Rafale aircraft from the Indian aircraft carriers during trials but will have to use some equipment for real-time operations.

That is also going to be part of the package for India to buy, the sources said. The Indian side is clear about the negotiations and wants to use the previous deal for the 36 planes for the Indian Air Force as the base price for the naval deal. The price will add inflation costs that were agreed upon between the two sides in the previous deal. Naval twin-engine jets are generally more expensive than the same aircraft being used by air forces across the globe due to the additional capabilities required for operations in the sea including the landing gear used for arrested landing at the carriers.

The negotiations for the price and other related issues for the all-important 26 Rafale Marine fighter aircraft started around June 12 last month. The French delegation for the talks includes officials from their Directorate General of Armament. The aircraft would be operated from the aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy including the INS Vikramaditya and the INS Vikrant. As per the plans, the Indian Navy will deploy these aircraft at the INS Dega in Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh as their home base. France had submitted its response to India’s tender for buying 26 Rafale Marine jets for the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers – INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya in December last year.