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July 1, 2014

France pushes Modi government to sign off on $20billion Rafale jet deal

France on Monday said it has no problems with India's nuclear liability law as it pushed for the early conclusion of the stalled $20billion deal to sell India 126 Rafale combat jets.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the first top European leader to visit India after the BJP came to power in the Lok Sabha polls, discussed the Rafale deal and civil nuclear cooperation during meetings with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.

The French Rafale jet was selected by India two years ago but the final price negotiations for the big ticket deal are yet to be completed.

Fabius acknowledged that such deals are complex and need protracted negotiations, but pointed out that there was a difference between "some time and too long".

Certain decisions had been taken and France now wants to work with the new Indian government to see how they can be implemented rapidly, he said.

Fabius, who will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, made a strong pitch for the Rafale jet, saying it would meet India's demand for the best technology and the development of the domestic defence industry through transfer of technology.
The Rafale deal could also boost cooperation between India and France in other defence sectors, including missiles, submarines and helicopters, he said.
- Defence news

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