India and France today inked an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on the sale of 36 French fighter jets, Rafale, but were unable to sign the final deal due to some “financial” aspects, which are expected to be sorted out in “couple of days”.
This agreement was among the 14 pacts signed between the two countries after extensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting French President Francois Hollande which focused ways to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism, security and civil nuclear energy.
“...Leaving out financial aspect, India and France have signed Inter-Governmental Agreement on purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets. We expect that even the financial aspects pertaining to purchase of Rafale jets will be resolved as soon as possible,” Modi said at a joint press event with Hollande.
Terming the signing of the IGA as a “decisive” step, the French President said there are some financial issues that will be sorted out in “couple of days”.
The two countries are in negotiations for 36 Rafale fighter jets in fly away conditions since the announcement for the deal was made by Modi in April during his visit to France.
However, the final deal is yet to be sealed as both sides are still negotiating the price which is estimated to be about Rs 60,000 crore. A high-level team from France is here and carrying out last minute negotiations.
Apart from defence cooperation, the talks between the two leaders primarily focused on ways to boost counter-terrorism cooperation in the aftermath of attack in Paris in November last and Pathankot terror strikes earlier this month.
“From Paris to Pathankot, we saw the gruesome face of the common challenge of terrorism...I also commend the strength of your resolve and action these terrorist attacks. President Hollande and I have agreed to scale up the range of our counter-terrorism cooperation in a manner that helps us to tangibly mitigate and reduce the threat of extremism and terrorism to our societies.
“We are also of the view that the global community needs to act decisively against those who provide safe havens to terrorists, who nurture them through finances, training and infrastructure support,” Modi said.
The two countries reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring to justice their perpetrators and the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which also caused the demise of two French citizens, and to ensure that such attacks do not recur in the future, a joint statement issued after the talks said.