Indian PM says giant French defence deal 'progressing well'

AFP , Thursday 14 Feb 2013

India's PM Manmohan Singh meets French President Francois Hollande to discuss the Rafale jets deal, unveiling progress despite earlier postponement

French-Indian Relations
French President Francois Hollande, left, arrives with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for delegation level talks in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 (Photo: AP)

India's prime minister said talks on a $12 billion deal to buy 126 fighter jets from France's Dassault Aviation were "progressing well" after he met French President Francois Hollande on Thursday.

The deal for the Rafale jets has been delayed since India entered into exclusive negotiations with Dassault in January last year, and is being pushed by Hollande who is in New Delhi for a two-day visit.

"The discussion on the MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) contract are progressing well," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a press conference with Hollande, who is on his first visit to Asia since taking office last year.

Hollande said that "the prime minister and myself noted that some progress has been achieved in the discussions and I do hope we can reach a conclusion".

Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier, who is part of a large business delegation accompanying Hollande, told AFP last week that the group hoped to conclude the sale this year.

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