A deal for the supply by France to India of a further 36 Rafale fighter jets is to be discussed at a meeting between President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of this weekend's G7 summit in Biarritz, according to Indian media reports quoting unnamed sources.
French aerospace and defence group Dassault Aviation has issued a statement insisting it 'freely' chose India's Reliance Group, run by a businessman close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as its local industrial partner as part of the sale to New Delhi of 36 Rafale fighter planes, following the revelation by Mediapart of a document in which one of its senior executives is cited as saying the choice of Reliance was 'imperative and obligatory' in securing the contract.
Speaking at a press briefing in Paris on Thurday, Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated her government's claim that did not impose an Indian company run by a businessman close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as local industrial partner for Dassault Aviation in the sale to New Delhi of 36 Rafale fighter planes, despite new evidence published by Mediapart suggesting that was the case.
The sale to India by France of 36 Dassault Rafale jet fighters, signed during the presidency of François Hollande, is at the centre of a growing scandal in India where opposition parliamentarians have demanded a detailed investigation of the deal, alleging favouritism, mismanagement of public funds, and the endangering of national security. They are notably suspicious of the circumstances by which India’s Reliance Group was assigned as Dassault’s partner in the building of the jets. As Karl Laske and Antton Rouget report here, at the very time the deal was struck, Reliance provided funding for a film produced by Hollande’s personal partner, the actress Julie Gayet.
Greek media reports say Athens is to begin negotiating the purchase from France of two French-Italian-designed FFREM-class multimission frigates, and is eyeing a further deal for two French Gowind-class corvettes.
The giant skeleton of a male, which was discovered in permafrost in Siberia ten years ago and is believed to be the largest in private ownership, was sold at an auction in Lyon.
The financial crime branch of France’s public prosecution services has widened the remit of a judicial investigation into suspected corruption in a sale of French helicopters to Kazakhstan to include the suspected involvement of France’s intelligence services in a plan to protect a businessman close to the Kazakh president from prosecution in Belgium. The move follows revelations by Mediapart and Belgian daily Le Soir of evidence suggesting the intelligence services were manipulated by officials of the French presidency under Nicolas Sarkozy in order to seal the deal worth a total of 2 billion euros. Yann Philippin reports in collaboration with Mediapart's Belgian press partners in this investigation, Alain Lallemand (Le Soir), Thierry Denoël (Le Vif) and Mark Eeckhaut (De Standaard).
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.
The defence ministers of the two countries will sign the deal in New delhi on Friday for Indias' purchase of 36 Dassault-built Rafale jets, reportedly at a cost of around 7.9 billion euros.
France's president said an agreement was under discussion for India's purchase of 36 Rafale jets, along with a deal for six Areva-built reactors.
The Mistral-class helicopter carriers built for deal with Russia that was annulled by embargo over Crimea conflict, could now go to Egypt and India.
Sale of ailing nuclear giant's power station development activities to utilities firm EDF will likely entail major costs for the latter and the state.
The media group's move comes after government pressure on Dailymotion owner Orange to keep the Youtube competitor in French hands.
Following a recent breakthrough deal to sell the Dassault jets to Egypt, Jean-Yves Le Drian will attempt to shore up a $12 billion deal with India.