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Eyeing More Sale of Rafales, French Defence Minister Heads to India Next Week

French defence minister Florence Parley will be here next week to lay the groundwork to further boost the bilateral strategic partnership ahead of President Emmanuel Macron's visit to India in December.

France is very keen to hard-sell additional Rafale fighters to India after the IAF inducts the 36 jets being acquired under the Rs 59,000 crore (7.87 billion) mega deal inked in September last year.

The IAF has itself projected the operational need to go in for another 36 Rafales after the first 36 are inducted at the Hasimara (West Bengal) and Ambala (Haryana) airbases from November 2019 to mid-2022.

During her visit here on October 27-28, Parley will hold a delegation-level meeting with her counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman on a wide range of issues, including defence projects, maritime security and counter-terrorism, apart from also meeting PM Narendra Modi and others.

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