France committed to timely delivery of Rafale jets despite Covid-19: Rajnath

New Delhi (NVI): Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today said that France is committed to ensure timely delivery of Rafale aircraft despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Defence Minister’s statement came after his telephonic conversation with French Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly today.

The two leaders discussed matters of mutual concern including COVID-19 situation, regional security and agreed to strengthen the Bilateral Defence Cooperation between India and France, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Rajnath Singh also tweeted in this regard: “We also appreciated the efforts made by Armed Forces of India and France in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. France has affirmed its commitment to ensure timely delivery of Rafale Aircraft despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Apart from this, Singh welcomed French Chairmanship of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) from 2020 to 2022, the MoD said. The two Ministers agreed to work together to fulfil the India-France Joint Strategic Vision on the Indian Ocean Region of 2018.

India was expected to get four Rafale fighter jets by May 2020, but it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and now the hand over is expected by the end of July.

In September 2016, India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France for the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.