India eyes China with bargain deal for French jets

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The 8-billion-euro contract signed in New Delhi on Friday for the supply of 36 French-built Rafale fighter jets has been hailed by Paris as a major coup that underlines the technological prowess of the French aeronautical industry. But, Mediapart’s India correspondent Guillaume Delacroix reports, the deal was struck after France agreed to massive discounts which virtually halve the total cost. But it also marks a new defence strategy by India, which now regards China as the principal threat to its security, and no longer Pakistan.

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The announcement on Wednesday by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his government had agreed to buy 36 Dassault-built Rafale fighter jets from France, at a cost of 8 million euros, ended almost four years of protracted negotiations which first began over a much larger contract.