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'Negotiations for Rafale contract to begin soon'

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French Air Force RAFALE in operation. Photo: Dassault Aviation.

NEW DELHI (PTI): French President Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed happiness at India's selection of the fighter aircraft Rafale for acquisition by Indian Air Force and said negotiations for the contract would begin very soon.

"The President of the French Republic has learned of India's selection of the Rafale for the acquisition by the Indian Air Force of 126 fighter aircrafts. France is pleased with Indian government's decision to select the French aircraft to enter into exclusive negotiations with Dassault," said a statement issued by the French Embassy here.

It said the announcement comes at the end of "a very high-level, fair and transparent competition" involving two European finalists for the bid.

The statement said "negotiations for the contract will begin very soon and has the full support of the French authorities. It will include important technology transfers guaranteed by the French government."

"Rafale has been selected, thanks to the aircraft's competitive life-cycle costs, after the April 2011 pre-selection on the basis of its top-level operational performance", it added.

"The realisation of the Rafale project will illustrate the depth and scale of the strategic partnership between France and India," the statement said.

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India  MMRCA  Rafale  
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