NEW DELHI // India's multibillion-dollar deal to purchase French fighter jets for its air force and a separate agreement to build the world's biggest civilian nuclear power complex in the west of the country were reviewed by the nations' leaders yesterday.
The visiting French president, Francois Hollande, and the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, held talks in New Delhi that also focused on defence, regional security and space exploration.
In January last year, India agreed to an US$11 billion (Dh40.4bn) deal to purchase 126 French combat aircraft. However, tough negotiations remain on costs, technology transfers and other details.
The French nuclear giant Areva and a state-owned Indian nuclear power company are also fine-tuning an agreement to build six nuclear reactors. The 9,900-megawatt complex would be the world's largest nuclear power station.
Indian officials said a final agreement on the fighter jets was not likely before July. Under the terms of the agreement, France's Dassault Aviation will deliver 18 fighter aircraft in "fly away" condition within three years. The other 108 would to be built by India's state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd through technology transfers.
Indian and French experts were still working out the pricing details, including the cost of on-board weaponry and royalties for producing the aircraft in India.
Mr Hollande and Mr Singh also witnessed yesterday the signing of cooperation agreements on higher education, railways, cultural exchanges and space exploration.
India and France said that they expected a free-trade agreement between India and the European Union to be signed by April.
* Reuters and Associated Press