On Rafale and deadly Panther choppers, India gets a huge offer from France
India and France have decided to intensify defence cooperation with Paris offering to shift 100 per cent assembly line for Panther medium utility helicopters as well as 70 per cent of the assembly line for Rafale fighters under “Make in India” rubric with full transfer of technology, people familiar with the matter said on Saturday.
The offers were made in the course of conversations between Indian leaders and Emmanuel Bonne, Diplomatic Advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron who was in the country for the 34th India-France strategic dialogue this week.
Officials said there was a real possibility that India, which has a contract for 36 Omni-role fighters, could buy more Rafale jets in light of the French offer to bring 70 per cent of the assembly line including local vendor development. This would reduce the cost of subsequent acquisition of the fighter jets.
The French offer to make the Panther choppers in India also works well with the government which has been looking to buy medium helicopters for the Indian Navy. The Airbus’ AS565 MBe is an all-weather, multi-role medium helicopter designed for operation from ship decks, offshore locations and land-based sites.
According to South Block sources, the India-France strategic dialogue this week has led to forward movement over 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power plant over reactor pricing issues with state-run Electricite de France (EDF) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL).