Thirty-six Rafale fighter planes will be delivered in the next two years and "more" will be come if India wants, Dassault CEO Eric Trappier said today on the sidelines of the Aero India show in Bengaluru.
Rafale jets participated on the opening day of the biennial five-day air show at the Yelahanka Air Force Station on the outskirts of Bengaluru. But the jets are not the ones that will be delivered to India by Rafale-maker Dassault.
"We will deliver 36 and if they want more we will deliver more. Rafale is the best aircraft and we have footprint, partnership in India," Eric Trappier told reporters.
He reiterated that "there is no scandal" in the Rafale deal and 36 jets would be delivered in the next two years.
"The first jet will be delivered this year in September and then one fighter jet will be given every month," said the Dassault CEO, tackling questions on the political controversy over the 2016 jet deal that the opposition says is corrupt.
"We will deliver more Rafale planes if India wants. We will be more than pleased to deliver and we feel confident for the future. If India wants to buy more and strengthen its defence capability, then 100 is a good number," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"We are more than proud to show today in our stand what we have produced in Nagpur, the first Falcon 2000 cockpit manufactured under the 'Make in India' policy in one year," he told reporters.
Asked whether he had any message for Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who has been relentlessly targeting the government on the Rafale deal, Eric Trappier said: "Ï don't have a message for Rahul Gandhi. I have a message to the partnership between India and France and India and Indian Air Force."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in 2016 for the purchase of 36 twin-engine medium multi-role combat aircraft, which security analysts believe can be a game-changer for India's defence system.
The Congress and other opposition parties allege that the government went for an overpriced deal to benefit Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence, which bagged an offset contract with Dassault.
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