India is likely to sign two defence deals from France which will involve the acquisition of twenty-six Dassault Rafales and three Scorpene class submarines for the Indian Navy. The Indian Defence Procurement Board cleared the two deals on July 10, 2023.
However, the deals will be announced during the visit of PM Narendra Modi to France on July 14 and July 16, 2023. The Indian Prime Minister will be the chief guest for the Bastille Day parade in Paris, France. Alongside him, a contingent of the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and the Indian Navy will be participating in the parade.
Captain Aman Jagtap will lead the Punjab Regiment of the Indian Army, while the Air Force and Naval contingents will be led by Squadron Leader Sindhu Reddy and Commander Vrat Baghel, respectively.
The two deals are worth approximately Rs 90,000 crores, and out of the twenty-six Rafales, four of them are training aircraft which has two seats. The other twenty-two fighter aircraft will be single-seaters. The three Scorpene Submarines will be a part of the Indian Navy’s Project 75.
The Indian Navy has been facing a shortage and dearth of fighter aircraft and submarines in recent years and has emphasised the urgent need to meet their requirements. The Indian Navy will use these aircraft for its two powerful aircraft carriers notably, INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. Currently, the Indian Navy operates the MiG-29K aircraft for its naval aviation unit.
One squadron of the Rafale (eighteen jets) will be stationed in INS Vikrant, and the rest will be kept as reserves in Goa.
While signing this formal deal will take some time as the techno-commercial negotiations will be carried out over the next few months, the contract is estimated to be valued at 5.5 billion Euros. The Jets will be equipped to Indian Standards and will have indigenous systems as well as weapons.
They will fill the gap in the Navy as the indigenous carrier-borne fighter is currently underway but is expected to take at least a decade before fruition.
The Defence Procurement Board has also cleared the acquisition of three additional submarines, extending the current line of boats being built at Mazagon Docks Limited. The will be more advanced versions of the current class built by the PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) cum shipyard. Five will be delivered, and the sixth one is expected next year.
The three Scorpene submarines to be built will have Indigenous Air Propulsion Systems, which have been built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The indigenous content will be sixty per cent resulting in the Transfer of Technology (ToT) to Mazagaon Docks Limited. The commercial negotiations will take place in the coming months, and the deal is expected to be valued at four billion euros.
While the details of the defence deals remain undisclosed, it is believed that Indian and France will also sign a defence industrial roadmap aimed at enhancing India’s manufacture of hardware platforms through indigenous engines and technology.
Furthermore, PM Modi and Emmanuel Macron are set to unveil a bilateral roadmap for the Indo-Pacific, outlining several measures to ensure maritime security and freedom of navigation in the region, which has been a subject of contention with a rising China.
India is also likely to seek price concessions in the deal and would be insisting on having additional Make in India content in the plan, sources said. The order of the three Scorpene submarines and the Dassault Fighter Aircraft will not only add muscle to the Indian Navy to take up the challenge posed by the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the Indian Ocean.