New Delhi/Paris: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) today approved proposals for the procurement of 26 Rafale marine aircraft from France to boost the Indian Navy’s operational capabilities.
The approval of Rafale marine aircraft coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaching Paris to attend the Bastille Day Parade as Guest of Honour on invitation by French President Emmanuel Macron. An Indian tri-services contingent will also be part of the Bastille Day Parade, while Indian Air Force aircraft will perform a fly-past on the occasion.
Modi’s visit also marks the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership. Before his departure, Modi stated, “I am confident that my visit will provide a new impetus to our strategic partnership”.
In a special gesture, the Prime Minister of France, Elisabeth Borne, received Prime Minister Modi at the airport in Paris where a ceremonial welcome and Guard of honour were accorded to him.
Meanwhile, the DAC, which met under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi, approved three proposals on July 13, 2023. It granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft along with associated ancillary equipment, weapons, simulator, spares, documentation, crew training and logistic support for the Indian Navy from the French Government based on an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA). The price and other terms of purchase will be negotiated with the French Government after taking into account all relevant aspects, including comparative procurement price of similar aircraft by other countries. Further, the integration of Indian-designed equipment and establishment of a Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) hub for various systems will be incorporated into the contract documents after due negotiations.
The DAC also granted the AoN for the procurement of three additional Scorpene submarines under the Buy (Indian) category which will be constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL). The Ministry of Defence said the procurement of additional submarines, with higher indigenous content, will not only help in maintaining the required force level and operational readiness of the Indian Navy but also create significant employment opportunities in the domestic sector. It will also help the MDL in further enhancing its capability and expertise in submarine construction.
In addition, the DAC approved the proposal to lay down guidelines for achieving the desired indigenous content in all categories of capital acquisition cases. It will help in achieving self-reliance in critical manufacturing technologies and life-cycle sustenance of defence platforms/equipment through indigenous manufacturing, the Ministry said.
Today in Paris, Modi met Gerard Larcher, President of the French Senate, and discussed a wide range of areas including India’s G20 priorities, democratic values in technology usage and cooperation between the two Upper Houses. Regional and global issues of mutual interest were also discussed. Prime Minister Modi also highlighted the significance of the shared values of ‘Democracy, Freedom and Equality’, that form the foundation ethos of the India-France partnership.
– global bihari bureau