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According to reports on Tuesday, talks about the pricing and technological-commercial specifics of India’s proposed purchase of three Scorpene submarines and 26 Rafale-M fighter fighters from France are still ongoing. A framework agreement for the Scorpene submarine project was finalised on July 6 by French defence giant Naval Group and India’s state-run shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), although they indicated negotiations on the pricing and other technical specifics had not yet been finalised.

According to the sources, the contract would be finalised after the techno-commercial negotiations are over regarding the purchase of the Rafale-M, the jet’s navy version.

One of the consequences of the discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron was the expansion of overall India-France defence cooperation, particularly to co-develop and co-produce important military platforms.

According to the sources, the decision by the two parties to collaborate on the construction of a fighter aircraft engine by French defence firm Safran in India will be based on the needs of the Indian armed forces.

They stated that while GE Aerospace’s current GE-F414 engines would be jointly built in India, Safran’s co-design and co-development of an altogether new engine would depend on India’s requirements.

During Modi’s recent trip to Washington, GE Aerospace announced a partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to build fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force. One of the insiders stated, “There is a difference between the two projects,” indicating that the Indo-France jet engine development initiative is far larger in scope than the F414 engine effort. The Indian government stated last week that it had chosen the naval variant of the jet to provide the Indian Navy with the newest model of aircraft, according to Dassault Aviation, the French aerospace giant and manufacturer of Rafale aircraft.

People with knowledge of the situation claimed that both countries agreed to the joint document that is posted on the ministry’s website and that the French website also contains the same content.

They claimed that it appeared that some earlier negotiation content was briefly put on the ministry’s website. One of the people claimed the text was in no manner a mutually agreed-upon text.

The price talks and technological-commercial aspects have not been finalised, according to one of the individuals.

Six Scorpene submarines have previously been built in India by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in association with the Naval Group of France as part of the Indian Navy’s Project 75.

The MDL plans to construct the three more submarines in India.

According to the Horizon 2047 document, the discussions between Prime Minister Modi and French President Macron were centred on “ground-breaking” defence cooperation in cutting-edge aeronautical technologies by promoting the joint development of a combat aircraft engine.

According to the statement, “India and France welcome the prompt delivery of the 36 Rafale aircraft ordered by India in keeping with their outstanding cooperation in military aviation spanning more than five decades.”

India and France would support the combined development of a combat aircraft engine in the future, the statement continued, “expanding their groundbreaking defence cooperation in advanced aeronautical technologies.”

In line with the Indian Multi Role Helicopter (IMRH) programme, it was said that the two parties also supported industrial collaboration for the motorization of heavy-lift helicopters using Safran helicopter engines.

The statement read, “A Shareholders’ Agreement has been completed for engine development between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), India, and Safran helicopter engine, France, to facilitate work on the IMRH programme.

In a joint statement, India and France praised the P75-Kalvari, the first Scorpene submarine to be built, as well as Make in India and the exchange of naval knowledge between businesses in the two nations.

“India and France are ready to explore more ambitious projects to develop the Indian submarine fleet and its performance,” the statement read.


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