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France hopes no more delay in India’s Scorpene project


NEW DELHI (PTI): France has said that delay in the Scorpene submarine project was because of inadequate infrastructure at Mumbai shipyard and price negotiations with India.

French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet, who was on a two-day visit to India, however, said there would not be any more delays in the Scorpene project as modernisation efforts at Mumbai shipyard have started showing results.

"This delay is the price to be paid by India to become autonomous in manufacturing the most modern submarines in the world... The modernisation effort (at Mumbai Shipyard) is showing results and we have good reasons to believe that there would not be more delays," Longuet said.

He was replying to a query on the progress made by both the countries in the construction of six Scorpene submarines.

The first submarine is expected to be delivered by 2016, followed by one submarine each subsequent year.

On India's long pending decision to upgrade Mirage-2000 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, Longuet said, "We are in the final phase of decision... The definition for the modernisation has been known for several years."

Expressing happiness over French fighter aircraft Rafale qualifying for the final rounds of $10.4 billion MMRCA (Medium Range-Multi Role Combat Aircraft) deal, he said, "The aircraft has been in service for a long time and that proves its multi-functional capabilities."

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