Rafale fighter jet deal
India inches closer to the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. In Picture: A French Air Force Rafale fighter jet prepares to take off during the close air support (CAS) exercise Serpentex 2016, hosted by France in the Mediterranean island of Corsica, at Solenzara air base, March 17, 2016.Reuters

India is inching closer to the purchase of 36 Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force from France in a government-to-government deal. The Euro 7.87 billion deal is in its final leg with the Indian government working on Inter-Governmental Agreement details.

A French working team is in New Delhi to analyse the finer details of the contracts. The French team have come with their own translators in order to help them with the agreement, PTI reported.

The government has firmed up the cost, offsets and service details related to the fighter deal.

Once work on the Inter-Governmental Agreement is completed, it will go to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by the Prime Minister for final clearance.

After getting the Cabinet approval, a high-level French delegation is expected to arrive in India to sign the final contract, PTI reported.

The report notes that deal might have been cleared earlier if not for the Indian request for a "better deal." It was suggested that Indian side saved over Euro 590 million, thanks to its long-drawn negotiations.

The deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets is inclusive of the aircraft, spares, support, training and weapons package. India is expected to purchase one of the most advanced, next-generation, beyond-visual-range, air-to-air missile Meteor from MBDA.

The Meteor is a formidable missile that can travel at over Mach-4 speed. It can take on targets that are over 100 km away.

According to NDTV,  the Meteor missile is a "game changer" as it outsmarts India's rivals Pakistan and China. Both these countries currently do not possess missiles of the same class.

The missile is comparable to the U.S. Air Force Raytheon's AIM-120D Advanced Medium-Range, Air-to-Air Missile.

Apart from the Meteor missile, the deal will include the Israeli helmet-mounted display.

Once the final contract for 36 Rafale deal is inked, the delivery of the aircraft will begin only in 2019.

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