NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said the Rafale fighter aircraft deal will enhance India’s military capabilities.
“For over two decades, we have not been able to procure any fighter aircraft. This decision had been pending for a very long time. It was revived, when on a government to government level Prime Minister Modi during his visit to France had revived it with the French president and today it has reached a culmination with the signing by our and the French Defence Minister,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli told ANI.
Kohli described this deal an important acquisition and said new aircraft technology would enhance India’s military capabilities.
Earlier, the Congress called on the NDA government to explain the advantages of the Rafale fighter jet deal inked between India and France.
New Delhi and Paris signed the deal for direct acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets yesterday. The negotiations to buy the Rafale fighter jets came through on Wednesday and French Defence Minister Yves Le Drian arrived in the country on Friday to finalise the deal which will cost India 7.8 billion Euros.
The development comes after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) discussed the deal and gave the green signal to go ahead with its signing to give a crucial boost to the Indian Air Force.
Both India and France had hoped to wrap up the strategic order during French President Francois Hollande's visit for the Republic Day celebrations in January this year, but the bargaining over the price stalled the process.
On Thursday, Parrikar had said that the two sides were yet to arrive at a decision on pricing. "It's a big purchase, we have to be careful and every 0.1 percent savings itself is hundreds of crores. So, let the exercise be done with some patience," he said.
Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervened in the troubled Rafale procurement last year, ordering government-to-government talks after commercial negotiations with Dassault had collapsed.
The leaders agreed to scale back an original plan to buy 126 Rafale planes to just 36 in fly-away condition to meet the Indian Air Force's urgent need as it faces an assertive China and long-time foe Pakistan.