Le temps de la patience: Wait for Rafale deal, says French media as Hollande begins his India trip

As French President Francois Hollande began his three-day visit to India that could push through the multibillion-dollar deal for Rafale combat airplanes, the French media said that India might have to be a bit patient with the Rafale deal.

In an interview with PTI, Hollande hinted it might take some more time to sign the deal.

"Agreeing on the technicalities of this arrangement obviously takes time, but we are on the right track," PTI quoted Hollande as saying.

French President Francois Hollande (left) with PM Narendra Modi. PTI

French President Francois Hollande (left) with PM Narendra Modi. PTI

While an article on Le Huffington Post said that Hollande's visit to India was "a rare honour for a Western leader and (a) brand of good relations between Paris and New Delhi (is) just waiting to grow," it also said that patience was "the key word" with respect to the Rafale deal, in light of Hollande saying that it might take some time to sign the deal.

The report also said that because of "obsolescence that threatens the (Indian) Air Force" and the growing demand for the Rafale planes after its sale in Egypt and Qatar, the policymakers in India were keen to diversify India's weapon sources.

"The geopolitical context of the Indian subcontinent is another argument in favor of an early conclusion of negotiations," said the report, further saying that India's tense relations with Pakistan and "the repeated intrusions of China, strategic ally of Islamabad" were also important reasons for the deal to be concluded early.

Focussing on the economic impact of Hollande's visit, French daily Le Figaro stressed on the fact that French companies will be involved int he development of Chandigarh, Nagpur and Pondicherry. "The Indian Prime Minister has made himself the champion of 'Make in India' (Manufacturing in India) to attract investors and rebalance the fundamentals of an economy where services are carving the lion's share (52 percent) compared to industry (30 percent)," said the report.

It also said that Hollande remembered that Modi had played a "decisive and central" role in the international climate conference in Paris.

Modi had first announced India's desire to buy 36 Rafale combat planes for its air force back in April last year during his visit to Paris.

Hollande had landed in the northern city of Chandigarh, where Modi joined him at official engagements and lauded France's decision to invest $1 billion every year in India in various sectors.

Chandigarh was designed in the 1950s by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier and is one of three places France has pledged to help develop as so-called "smart cities" — with clean water supplies, efficient sewage disposal and public transportation.

Hollande and French business leaders met with their Indian counterparts to boost bilateral trade, which in 2014 was $8.6 billion. New Delhi is also trying to encourage French companies to tap into India's economic boom.

Modi, in his speech, said India was looking forward to French expertise in defense production, developing railways and waterways, and fighting global warming and terrorism.

Hollande is accompanied by the ministers of defence, foreign affairs, economy and culture and dozens of top corporate leaders.

With inputs from AP

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Updated Date: Jan 25, 2016 15:12:06 IST

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