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France offers technology to India to build 'desi' missile

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MBDA's MICA missile

BANGALORE (PTI): France is ready to transfer technology of its surface-to-air missile to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India so that this country can build its own version, French Minister of State for Defence Jean-Marie Bockel said today.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of air show, Aero India 2009, he said the offer is currently under discussions with Indian authorities.

On the absence of Rafale, made by France's Dassault Aviation, one of the contenders for India's 126 fighter jets contract, from the show, he said Rafale is on display back in France and is available for those who want to test it.

"All the Rafale that could have been sent to India for this air show...Are presently in (combat) operation in Afghanistan", he said.

"Rafale will be present at all stages of evaluation (in India in its bid for the contract) and we believe it's the best plane available", Bockel said.

Asked if France would stop sales of weapons to Pakistan in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks blamed on elements within that neighbouring country, he said, "France wants Pakistan to act very concretely and fully against terrorism at all the levels of the State".

"We say that to Pakistan, we will continue to say it to Pakistan", Bockel added.

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