India’s intent to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in flyaway condition, a final agreement seems to be concluded.

The high-power committee set up to negotiate the terms and conditions of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) has already submitted its report and the file is with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Final clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is also awaited.

50% Offset Clause
All issues have now been resolved and the deal includes a 50 per cent offset clause as per the India’s procurement procedure under which French companies would invest that value in India for goods and services.

The direct purchase is meant to ensure quick deliveries to the IAF which is facing a drop in its fighter aircraft strength.

All you need to know about Rafale Deal

What is Rafale aircraft?
Rafales are twin-engine Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by Dassault Aviation, a French firm. Rafale fighter jets are positioned as ‘omnirole’ aircrafts that capable to perform a wide-range of combat roles such as air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence.

When did the actual procurement process begin?
Indian Air Force sought additional fighter jets in 2001. The current IAF fleet largely consists of heavy and light-weight combat aircraft. So the Defence Ministry considered bringing in intermediate medium-weight fighter jets. Though the idea has been around since 2001, the actual process began in 2007. The Defence Acquisition Council, approved the Request For Proposal to buy 126 aircraft in August 2007. This kick-started the bidding process.

Delay in the execution of deal
Talks then dragged on due to the difference in pricing, offsets, customisations sought by the IAF and sovereign guarantees the Defence Ministry was pushing for.

Revised Policy
Though the initial plan was to buy 126 jets, India scaled it down to 36, that too in ready condition.

How important is this deal to both India and France?
France: Rafale jets are currently being used mostly by France and also by Egypt and Qatar. Dassault is hoping that export of Rafale jets will help the company meet its revenue targets. India was the first country that agreed to buy Rafale, after it was used in Libyan airstrikes. If India inducts these jets in its military fold, other nations could express its willingness to buy Rafales.

India: India chose Dassault over its traditional partner Russia’s MiG. It also ignored U.S.’ Lockheed, at a time when India and U.S. were aiming for closer ties. Procurement of combat aircraft is long overdue for the Indian Air Force. Further delay can only make things worse. This deal is India’s biggest-ever procurement.