India confirms deal to buy 36 French-made Rafale fighter jets

Fighter Jets

Fighter Jets

India’s cabinet committee on security on Wednesday approved the purchase of 36 fighter jets from France’s Dassault, a senior Indian defence ministry official said.

“The deal was approved at the meeting in the evening. It will now be formally signed by Indian and French defence ministers on September 23 in New Delhi,” the unnamed official told AFP.

The official said that other details including the exact amount and formalities “will become clear after the signing event”.

According to local media reports, the Indian government has agreed to pay around $8.8 billion for the fighter jets.

The purchase of Rafale aircraft, which will replace part of the country’s ageing air force fleet, was first mooted in 2012 and the deal was signed in January 2016.

India entered exclusive negotiations on buying 126 of the fighters four years ago, but the number of planes was scaled back during tortuous negotiations over the cost and assembly of the planes in India.