More reports on: Trade

Modi, Hollande ink Rafale fighter deal, but details remain

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25 January 2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that an intergovernmental agreement has been signed to buy 36 Rafale combat jets from France, and "financial issues" on the deal will be sorted out soon.

Modi was speaking after hosting French President Francois Hollande for talks at Delhi's Hyderabad House. Hollande is the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations on Tuesday.

Hollande said the signing of the inter-governmental agreement was a decisive step. "There are some financial issues that will be sorted out in a couple of days, but the memorandum has been signed," he said.

The French president said the Rafale fighter jets have been "proving their mettle in Iraq and Syria" in the war against terror group ISIS.

Indian and French negotiators have been debating the price of the combat planes that are key to India's plans to modernize its military and keep up with neighbours Pakistan and China.

The two leaders also sent out a strong message on terror. "Paris to Pathankot are challenges for us. Terrorism is against humanity. To fight this, we have to unite," PM Modi said.

A joint statement condemned recent terror attacks in many parts of the world and called "for greater unity, stronger international partnership and concerted action by the international community".

The statement said both leaders "asked for decisive actions" against terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed and "reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring to justice" the perpetrators of recent attacks in Pathankot and Gurdsapur and the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, in which two French citizens were among 166 people killed.

"India and France are aware of terror threats because both our countries have been targeted over the past few months. France will never forget Indian support. We know who hit us - Daesh (ISIS). Daesh is claiming the crimes," Hollande said.

Apart from the MoU on the Rafale jets, the two countries have signed 13 agreements after the talks today, including deals on railway engines, space technology, smart cities and solar and nuclear energy.

After the talks Modi and President Hollande ditched the usual cavalcades and rode on the Delhi metro to Gurgaon where they both jointly laid the foundation of the interim secretariat of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).





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