India in Negotiations to Buy Jets From France

India in Negotiations to Buy Jets From FranceIndia in Negotiations to Buy Jets From France

India is negotiating to buy 63 Rafale fighter jets made in France for 7.2 billion euros ($7.65 billion) with a view to reaching a deal during the Indian prime minister’s visit to Paris starting on Friday, French newspaper Le Monde reported.

“The discussions went on through the night and were still going on this morning,” Le Monde quoted a source close to the matter as saying.

“The idea is to announce the contract during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris on Friday or Saturday,” the source added, Reuters reported.

Neither Dassault Aviation, which builds the Rafale or the French president’s office could immediately be reached for comment. The French defense ministry declined to comment.

Indian officials confirmed that a major push was on to reach an agreement to buy Rafales during Modi’s visit to Paris, with one holding out the prospect of an announcement – if not a final deal – if India is able to secure more favorable terms.

Earlier, the Hindustan Times and one widely-watched defense blogger said that a direct government-to-government contract to buy a smaller number of planes than the 126 originally envisaged under a tender deal one possible outcome because of problems linked to localizing production of most of the planes in India.

Modi is in France for a two-day state visit. There is due to be a signing ceremony for various contracts late Friday and a joint news conference with President Francois Hollande.

Talks on the proposed Rafale purchase have been under way for more than three years, trying to resolve differences over pricing and local assembly.