The French Ambassador said the negotiations,which started in early 2012, have taken three years due to the "importance and complexity" of the deal.
Negotiations regarding the transfer of Rafale fighter jets from France to India have made good progress and have been put on fast track, Ambassador of France to India, Francois Richier, said in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Voicing satisfaction over the talks, Mr. Richier, who was on a three-day visit to Kolkata told journalists that the talks, which started in early 2012, have taken three years due to the "importance and complexity" of the deal.
“We have decided to finish the negotiations quickly, to put negotiation on fast track. To complete that, there is no date fixed but conclusion of negotiations is on the fast track,” the Ambassador said.
In January 2012, India entered into a multi-billion dollar contract for the 126 medium multi role combat aircraft for Indian Air Force with France-based Dassault Aviation. As per the contract the first 18 jets were supposed to be delivered in India from France within 36 months of the contract being signed and remaining 108 are to be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited ( HAL) in India over next seven years with transfer of technology.
Asked about France’s delay in delivering warships to Russia, the French Ambassador referred to the crisis in Ukraine and said that it is not refusal but conditions are not conducive for the deal.
High-speed train project
Mr. Richier said France is also involved in important infrastructure project in India, the high-speed train between Bombay and Ahmedabad. At this moment feasibility studies are on for the project, he said, adding that new railway lines needs to be laid for the high–speed train.
The Ambassador said that two such studies are made, one by the Japanese and another by the French.
Stating that India has to decide with which country they have to ahead with Mr Richier while adding that France is good at bullet trains, said the country’s cooperation with Indian Railways is not only restricted to the project but also in areas of safety and management of railway stations.
The Ambassador said that SNCF the French Railways is directly involved in the feasibility study and expressed hope that soon the chairman of French Railways will be in India.