New Delhi, Sep 12: The contract for 36 Rafales is in the last stages of finalisation and the multi-billion euro deal with France could be announced soon.
"Final points of the contract are being worked out. The deal is almost in final stages," government sources said. Last month, a report submitted by a team negotiating the much-anticipated Rafale deal with France was cleared by the defence ministry.
The file was then sent to the Prime Minister's office for review and clearance. Sources said the PMO had sought from Defence Ministry some clarifications on the life cycle costs and unit price of the aircraft which was replied to.
French sources have said they are expecting a positive development this month. During his visit to France in April last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India would purchase 36 Rafale jets in a government-to-government contract.
Soon after the announcement, the defence ministry scrapped a separate process that was on to purchase 126 Rafale fighter planes, built by French defence giant Dassault Aviation. The deal is expected to be worth around 7.89 billion euros for the 36 fighter jets in fly away conditions.
The weapon systems, part of the deal, will also include the new-age, beyond visual range missile, Meteor, and Israeli helmet mounted display.
The price of the deal was brought down from nearly 10 billion euros, as sought initially, due to various reasons including tough negotiation by India, the discount offered by the French government and reworking of some of the criteria. It is not clear if the price has been brought down further, but India has been keen on it.