French President Francois Hollande, speaks at the Madhavrao Scindia memorial lecture, in New Delhi, India, Friday, Feb.15, 2013. AP Photo/Manish Swarup
India and France are speeding up negotiations in a multibillion-dollar deal to build French
fighter jets for the Indian air force on Thursday during a visit by French
President François Hollande to New Delhi.
Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks in the capital that also focused on defense, regional security and cooperation in space exploration. A $9.3-billion agreement for French
energy giant Areva to construct the world’s biggest civilian nuclear power complex in western India
was also being fine-tuned.
But despite the numerous contracts up for discussion, including the purchase by India
of 126 Rafale fighter jets for $11 billion, President Hollande stressed that his visit was a diplomatic one.
“There will be contracts signed by companies,” he told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview. “But it’s not the state that signs contracts. We can give our support, we can accompany them, we can give an idea of what's on our mind, but from there on it's the companies, using their technological capacities, and the quality of their products and also their market savvy that land the contracts.”Read more on France24