France to offer more fighter aircraft to India: Defence Minister Parly

Visiting French Defense Minister Florence Parly on Thursday stated that her country is eager to offer India with more Rafale fighter aircraft. "France is ready to respond to any further needs or requests that India may make....we are open and ready to deliver any other Rafale if this is India's desire," Parly said in response to a question.

On September 23, 2016, India inked an inter-governmental agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in flyaway condition. Thirty-three of the 36 have been delivered, with three more due in April 2022. The French Minister's visit to India is his second in two years. In September 2020, she visited India and took part in the formal induction ceremony of five Rafale fighter jets at the Ambala airfield.

According to the French minister, "We are delighted that the Indian Air Force is pleased with its Rafale, and we are glad that, notwithstanding COVID-19, the 36 aircraft will be delivered on time, as agreed. It's a remarkable feat, and I was fortunate enough to be present at the induction ceremony for the Indian Air Force's first aircraft in September of last year. It will be a valuable benefit to our bilateral collaboration since we will be able to use the same aircraft. I am confident that fresh developments are possible."

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