france: Rafale deliveries to India ahead of schedule, says French Ambassador Lenain | India News


HYDERABAD: Aeronautical major Dassault Aviation is expected to deliver the 36 Rafale jets well ahead of schedule despite the lockdown for a few days to contain the spread of Covid-19 in France, Ambassador of France in India Emmanuel lenain he said on Friday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the fourth edition of the Indo-French Investment Caucus here, organized by the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IFCCI), Lenain said that companies belonging to the European country have invested more than 10 billion euros in India providing employment to 2.50 lakh Indians.
“(The aircraft delivery) will be ahead of schedule. We are very proud of that. Despite COVID-19 it has not been disturbed at all to the contrary, “said the envoy to PTI.
India had signed an intergovernmental agreement with France in September 2016 for the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.
The first batch of five Rafale aircraft arrived in India on July 29 last year.
“The factory that produced Rafale was closed (during the closure). We had a commitment to India. After the closure, crews worked additional shifts at night and on weekends to make sure these planes were delivered on time. And now Dassault has delivered 29 to India and 26 have already been shipped to India, “he said.
Describing recent events in Afghanistan as “worrying”, the ambassador said that some of the countries, including France, have asked the Taliban regime to allow the free flow of humanitarian assistance to the besieged country, in addition to not providing refuge for terrorists.
“Today they have not fulfilled any of them and that is deeply worrying. They cannot ask us for any kind of recognition until they have fulfilled some of these commitments,” he added.
Regarding Indo-French trade, the ambassador said that trade volumes are not large as most of the companies in his country prefer to invest in India rather than export.
“We are making a lot of local investments. So far, French companies have invested more than 10 billion euros in India and it is going very fast and they are employing 250,000 Indians,” he explained.
In 2020, the India-France bilateral trade stood at 9,040 million euros (-21.99 percent) compared to the previous year. India’s exports to France were valued at € 4.80 billion, down 22.9 percent during this period. Indian imports from France also fell by 20.95 percent to 4.23 billion euros, according to official Indian figures.

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