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France's defence minister seals Rafale sale with India

Dassault's Rafale fighter jet - selling at last
Dassault's Rafale fighter jet - selling at last Reuters/Abhishek N. Chinnappa/Files

France’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met his Indian counterpart today for final talks on the sale of 36 Rafale fighter jets to India. After three sales of French company Dassault's star product since the beginning of the year, Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius said he was optimistic that the United Arab Emirates would also place an order.

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Le Drian on Wednesday discussed reaching a bilateral agreement between governments on the Rafale sale with India's Manohar Parrikar. 

They agreed to set up teams to agree the details in a short space of time, a statement said. 

The deal was agreed in April after three years of price negotiations for the local assembly of 126 fighter jets in India fell through.

Following that failure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government insisted that all future orders should be backed up by an inter-governmental agreement.

On Monday Dassault signed an agreement to sell 24 Rafales to Qatar for 6.3 billion euros and in February it sold 24 to Egypt.

 Discussions with the United Arab Emirates should result in a fourth sale, Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 radio on Wednesday. 

France has carved out a favourable position with the Gulf states, who are investing in arms in part because of the improvement in relations between Iran and the US and the spread of Tehran's influence in the region.

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