India takes first Rafale delivery in controversial jet deal


India obtained Tuesday the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets purchased from France in 2016 that Paris expects will unlock earnings. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh combined his French counterpart Florence Parly for service in the Dassault Aviation mill in Merignac, near the town of Bordeaux, on the Indian Air Force’s birthday.

Standing alongside the aeroplane, decorated in the colours of the Indian flag,” Singh hailed a “historic and landmark day for the Indian armed forces,” imagining that the Rafale”will add to the strength of our air force.”India, that in Februaryfought air conflicts with arch-rival Pakistan within their land of Kashmir, is trying to reestablish its fleet of Jaguar, Mirage 2000, Sukhoi 30, and Mig 21 and 27 jets.

It signed a deal to purchase 36 Rafales out of France, but shipping was held up by corruption allegations levelled by the opposition Congress party. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accused Congress of endangering the nation ´s security, stating the Kashmir skirmishes could have stopped”better” to India if it’d had the Rafales.

French plane-maker Dassault at 2012 acquired a contract set under Congress-led authorities in 2012 to provide 126 jets to India, together with a few built-in France and the remainder in India by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). But on a trip to France at 2015, Modi battled the bargain, substituting it to all be constructed in France.

The arrangement, the next year signed, called Reliance group, a conglomerate owned by billionaire Anil Ambani who has knowledge in aviation, as Dassault´s partner. Modi and the authorities deny any misconduct, also in December, India´s leading court dismissed calls for an investigation into the agreement, saying it saw no signs of”commercial favouritism”.


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