Deal of Rafale jets will take time due to technicalities: President Hollande

BENGALURU: French President Francois Hollande has said that a deal of Rs 60,000 crore Rafale jets is on the right track but technicalities will take time.

Ahead of his three days visit, President Hollande said that the Rafale jet deal is on the right track but agreeing on technicalities take time.

Indian and French negotiators are still haggling over the price of 36 Rafale fighter jets for the Indian Air Force. The jet deal was agreed upon when PM Modi visited Paris last year.

In Chandigarh, President Hollande, along with PM Modi, will attend a business summit after visiting various landmarks in the city that has turned into a virtual fortress. Thousands of security personnel from Punjab, Haryana and Para military personnel are in Chandigarh.

At the Republic Day parade in Delhi on Tuesday, President Hollande will see French soldiers marching down Rajpath along with Indian troops, a first for any foreign army.

Hollande, who is the chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year, began his three day India visit on Sunday from Chandigarh where he, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will attend a business summit and visit various landmarks.

The French President said in a written interview to PTI that, India and France are confronted with similar threats; they are attacked by murderers who pretend to act on religious basis and their real objective is widespread hate. They want to undermine our democratic values and their way of life and said that India and France are united in their determination to act together against terrorism.

He said that, they engage constantly with India. The Indo French working group on counter terrorism met just after the Paris attacks in November 2015. That was the best answer to show our determination in front of jihadist.

Accompanied by a high powered delegation, Hollande landed at Chandigarh Air Force Station at around 1 pm. The French president is accompanied by a high powered delegation, including six ministers.

However, the 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 in Delhi to carrying out last minute negotiations.

Answering a question on Pathankot terror strike and that most of the terror attacks in India emanate from Pakistan, Hollande said, France strongly condemned the attack on Pathankot and India is fully justified to ask for justice against perpetrators.

According to a published report, as China and Pakistan modernize air force at a rapid pace; Indian Air Force (IAF) faces risk without new western warplanes or the lack of local defense contractor’s ability to keep up with military needs in a timely manner.