France hails India jet deal as vote of confidence

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France on Tuesday hailed India's selection of French firm Dassault as the preferred bidder for a multi-billion-dollar fighter jet contract as a vote of confidence in French industry.

The selection of Dassault's Rafale multi-role fighter "goes far beyond the company that makes them, far beyond aerospace -- it is a vote of confidence in the entire French economy," President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

Indian and French officials said Dassault had beat the Eurofighter consortium for the right to enter exclusive negotiations with India in a major contract estimated to be worth $12 billion (nine billion euros).

Sarkozy said the competition for the contract was "at a very high level" and that the Rafale was chosen "thanks to the competitiveness of the global cost of the aircraft over its lifetime."

The announcement, the first anticipated sale of Rafales to a foreign buyer, gave a much-needed boost to France's Rafale programme, which had been suffering from a lack of foreign contracts.

French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Pierre Lellouche hailed the selection as a positive sign for the French economy, which is struggling in the face of the eurozone debt crisis.

"This is good news and France needs good news right now... It is good news for our aerospace industry and for our defence industry, which is among the best in the world," he said.

"I hope that this order will finally open up real perspectives" for the Rafale programme "because the political pressure applied by our competitors do not make things very easy," he added.

French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet warned in December that production of the Rafale -- a project that has so far cost more than 40 billion euros -- could halt if it remained unable to sell any abroad.

France is also hoping to sell the planes to Brazil, which is choosing between Rafales, Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and Sweden's Gripen for a contract to supply 36 multi-role fighters.

Dassault has also been in talks for years with the United Arab Emirates on buying 60 Rafales and hopes to eventually convince Kuwait and Qatar to buy some.


© 2012 AFP

2 Comments To This Article

  • Anupam posted:

    on 1st February 2012, 02:12:31 - Reply

    @satish : u r an idiot and day dreamer nothing else to the way i am indian myself. stop spreading hatred in this globalized world
  • Satish Chandra posted:

    on 31st January 2012, 19:39:33 - Reply

    1) Stealth or no-stealth, 5th generation or 4th generation, fighter aircraft are as obsolete for India's defence as bows and arrows. They can be used against neighbors such as Pakistan and China but the United States is EVERYBODY'S neighbor. It has already invaded and occupied Afghanistan, a part of traditional India and will expand its occupation to the rest of the subcontinent. I am India's expert in strategic defence, the father of India's strategic program including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and the world's greatest scientist (my biography is in Marquis' Who's Who in the World, 2012 and earlier editions). The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan means the coast-to-coast destruction of the U.S. by India; see my blog titled 'Nuclear Supremacy for India Over U.S.', which can be found by a Yahoo search with the title, for what India needs to do. Russia and other white countries are U.S. allies. These are the enemies to destroy. All other enemies will be taken care of automatically. Conventional arms are worthless for destroying the United States. Nuclear arms to destroy the United States with a FIRST STRIKE -- this is the key -- are cheap and easy to produce with technology India already has. All the money earmarked for fighter aircraft etc., and more, must be pumped into research, development and production of missiles able to deliver India's nuclear warheads -- in the thousands -- to the continental United States. India's missile scientists