France delivers first Rafale fighter jet to India

Updated October 08, 2019

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Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (C) poses next to French Defence Minister Florence Parly during the ceremony marking the delivery of the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets destined for India, on Tuesday at Dassault Aviation plant in Merignac. — AFP
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (C) poses next to French Defence Minister Florence Parly during the ceremony marking the delivery of the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets destined for India, on Tuesday at Dassault Aviation plant in Merignac. — AFP

France has delivered to India its first Rafale fighter jet from a series of 36 aircraft purchased in a multi-billion dollar deal in 2016.

Defence Minister Florence Parly and her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh, who is on a three-day visit to France, attended a ceremony on Tuesday at aircraft maker Dassault Aviation facility in Merignac, southwestern France.

The ministers are also scheduled to hold talks on defence cooperation and security issues in the Indo-Pacific region.

The $8.78 billion deal sparked controversy in India last year with the main opposition Indian National Congress party accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of buying the aircraft at nearly three times the price being negotiated when it was the ruling party before Modi came to power in 2014. The government denied any wrongdoing.