الأربعاء , يونيو 17 2020

Jet deal on Modi's France agenda

Narendra Modi being received by Thierry Braillard, Minister of State for Sports in Paris on April 9

Mr Modi was received by French Minister of State for Sports Thierry Braillard

India’s PM Narendra Modi may try to reach a breakthrough on a major defence deal during his ongoing visit to France, media reports say.

France is hoping to sell 126 Rafale fighter jets to India, but the $12bn (£8.2bn) deal has yet to be finalised.

Mr Modi is in France on the first leg of a three-nation tour which also takes in Germany and Canada.

The Indian PM will hold talks with President Francois Hollande and meet business leaders.

Indian media report the government is mulling a direct purchase of a smaller number of fighter jets to replace its ageing fleet.

The Hindustan Times reported that the government was “seriously considering a strategic purchase of up to 40 Rafales for the Indian Air Force” due to “operational necessity”, with further purchases later.

India’s foreign ministry spokesperson was quoted by The Economic Times as saying that “movement” on a deal was likely during Mr Modi’s visit.

A highlight of Mr Modi’s trip to France will be boat ride with Mr Hollande on the Seine river.

Mr Modi will also visit the World War One memorial and pay tribute to Indians who lost their lives fighting alongside France.

He will then head to Germany, where he will inaugurate one of the world’s biggest trade fairs and told talks with leaders to boost trade ties.

In the third and last leg of his tour, Mr Modi will travel to Canada, marking the first standalone visit by an Indian prime minister in over four decades.

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