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France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft-carrier quits Gulf for India

One of the Rafale jet fighters on the Charles-de-Gaulle.
One of the Rafale jet fighters on the Charles-de-Gaulle. Sami Boukhelifa/RFI

The French aircraft-carrier Charles de Gaulle has left the Persian Gulf, ending its mission fighting the Islamic State (Isis) armed group to go to India, which has just bought 26 French Rafale jet fighters.

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The Charles de Gaulle, with 12 Rafales and nine modernised Super Etendard fighters both built by France's Dassault company, was en route for the Indian state of Goa on Monday to take part in Indian naval and air force manoeuvres.

Delhi last week bought 36 Rafales and wants to negotiate the purchase of more, although France's long-standing hopes of selling India 126 of the planes look set to be disappointed.

While the Charles de Gaulle was in the Gulf it served as the base for 10-15 daily sorties against Isis as part of the US-led operation in Iraq.

Its departure brings France's contribution to the anti-Isis air effort down to six Rafales based in the UAE and six Mirages in Jordan.

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