[The tango, obviously, has a conspicuous military, aka "strategic",
dimension, having a bearing on India-China relations, which we're not going
to talk of here.
However, the actual, or proposed, purchase of additional 36 Rafale fighter
jets, apparently, has a linkage with that, as the very caption of the BS
report below claims.

We'll, instead, focus on only two issues.
Rather the confusions over these two

AA.
I. <<The highlight of the visit for as yet has been the purchase of 36
Rafale jets over and above the planned 36, that President Macron called the
''heart of India-France strategic partnership''. The government has been
hush-hush over the Rafale deal and has kept mum on the doubling of the
initial order.>>
(Excerpted from sl. no. I. below.)
II. <<France had wanted India to announce its interest in acquiring another
36 Rafale fighters, after the IAF inducts the first 36 jets being acquired
under the Rs 59,000 crore contract (7.87 billion euro) mega deal inked in
September 2016.
...
The Indian defence ministry, however, says “no decision has yet been taken”
on whether to go in for the acquisition of two additional Rafale squadrons
(each has 18 jets) in the future. “It will be taken at a later stage once
the delivery of the first 36 jets begins,” said a source.>>
(Excerpted from sl. no. II. below.)

Evidently, the positions propounded by the two subject reports on the
status of the deal for purchase of *additional* Rafale jet fighters are
(only too) strikingly different.
But, some other parts of the ToI report, also, suggests that a
(secret/tacit?) agreement has indeed been concluded.
This, definitely, deserves closer attention.

BB.
I. <<In the field of atomic energy, the two countries signed an agreement
to expedite the work on Jaitapur nuclear power plant. The "Industrial Way
Forward Agreement" was signed between EDF, France, and Nuclear Power
Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). The EDF will be constructing six
atomic reactors in Jaitapur with a capacity of 1,650 MW each. The plant
which will come up in coastal Maharashtra will be the largest nuclear park
in the country.>>
II. <<The two countries inked a range of agreements on Saturday that are
the building blocks of a wide arch of cooperation but the formal
announcements skipped mention of discussions on further Rafale acquisitions
though Macron clearly saw the deal as a significant marker in burgeoning
India-France ties.>>

Here, both the reports are fairly congruent, as far as Jaitapur is
concerned.
But, the official press release says, as regards the "Industrial Way
Forward Agreement between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, and EDF,
France", just this: <<This agreement prescribes a way forward for the
implementation of the Jaitapur nuclear power project.>>
(Ref.: Sl. No. 11 at <
http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=177257>.)
That very much sounds far less ambitious or assertive than the two
newspaper reports cited above.
More so, if one keeps in mind that the press release is also a part of
diplomatic exercise, which customarily makes things look pretty good even
in the absence of any real substance.]


I//II.
http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/prez-macron-sells-rafale-pm-modi-buys-china-antidote-top-10-developments-118031100371_1.html

Prez Macron sells Rafale, PM Modi buys China antidote; top 10 developments
PM Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron promised to fight climate
change at the inaugural International Solar Alliance Summit

BS Web Team
Last Updated at March 11, 2018 12:29 IST

Emmanuel Macron and Narendra Modi. Photo: Twitter

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French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi
inaugurated the first International Solar Alliance Summit. Delivering the
inaugural address, President Macron said that both PM Modi and he were
committed to the well being of the planet and would take concrete steps to
fight climate change. PM Modi said that studying ancient India can provide
answers to how climate change can be fought.

President Macron arrived in India on Friday. Since then, he has inked deals
worth $16 trillion dollars with India, advised Indian students and taken
their questions on myriad topics, and most importantly, created an outline
for India-France strategic partnership with PM Modi.

The highlight of the visit for as yet has been the purchase of 36 Rafale
jets over and above the planned 36, that President Macron called the
''heart of India-France strategic partnership''. The government has been
hush-hush over the Rafale deal and has kept mum on the doubling of the
initial order.

However, President Macron's visit hasn't only cost India foreign reserves.
The Indian prime minister and the French president, in a joint statement on
Saturday, talked about increasing the two countries' maritime engagement.
This assumes significance in the context of China's growing might and
strategic posturing in the Indian ocean region.
France has two islands in the Indian Ocean Region, on which India might
want to develop a strategic presence, according to a report in Livemint.

Top 10 developments surrounding the visit by French President Emmanuel
Macron to India:

1. Trillion-dollar International Solar Alliance:
French president Emmanuel Macron delivered the inaugural address at the
International Solar Alliance in New Delhi on Sunday morning.
"Veda's consider the sun as the soul of the world, it has been considered
as a life nurturer. Today, for combating climate change, we need to look at
this ancient idea to find a way," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said
speaking at the foundation day ceremony.
Macron, delivering the inaugural address, said that PM Modi and he are
obsessed with concrete results and are committed towards the planet's cause.
What is International Solar Alliance:
The alliance is holding it foundation day celebrations at the Rashtrapati
Bhawan. Its mandate is to promote solar energy. India will provide a
funding of $27 million to the ISA. Around $1 trillion of capital for solar
power projects is expected to be mobilised with this partnership.
India's Vikram Solar has signed a collaboration agreement with French
Alternatie Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) for enhanced
research and development in high-efficiency crystalline silicon cells,
modules, systems and a host of high-efficiency generation and storage
technologies for French and Indian markets.

2. A visit worth 16 billion dollars
The French president Emmanuel Macron, in a joint statement with the Prime
Minister Narendra Modi, stressed upon deepening the trade alliance between
France and India as the two countries inked 14 pacts worth $16 billion in
key areas of defence, security and nuclear energy.
The deals include a contract for France's Safran to supply SpiceJet with
engines, water system modernisation by Suez in the southern city of
Davangere, and a contract between industrial gas company Air Liquide and
Sterlite.
Macron's office did not provide a breakdown of the value or details of the
business contracts. It said that some 200 million euros of investments
would be made in India.
Both the countries encouraged small and medium-sized enterprises and
mid-cap companies to play a growing role in the economic and commercial
exchanges.

3. Indian Ocean Region
The two leaders have decided upon deepening maritime ties, so as to counter
the increasing might of China in the Indian Ocean region. France has two
islands in the Indian Ocean Region, on which India might want to develop a
strategic presence, according to reports in the media.

4. Strategic alliance
The leaders welcomed the signing of the "Agreement between the Government
of the Republic of India and the Government of the Republic of France
regarding the Exchange and Reciprocal Protection of Classified or Protected
Information” between India and France, reflecting the high level of
strategic trust between the two countries. Both sides also agreed to create
an annual defence dialogue at the ministerial level.

5.
Macron invites Indian students to France
"I want to double the number of Indian students coming to France. If you
choose France you gain access to francophonie, you gain access to Europe,"
French President Emmanuel Macron told Indian students at an event.
We took a series of steps in the last few months order to improve equality
and fight violence against women. These problems arise from the arrogance
of males.
Macron tweeted: "My advice when facing difficulties: accept to go to sleep
with doubts but always refuse to wake up with them."

Emmanuel Macron
✔
@EmmanuelMacron
My message to #IndianYouth :
1. Have the best possible education. The less educated you are, the fewer
opportunities you’ll get.
2. Think long-term. Always think about preserving the balance between your
country and the global environment.

Watch live : http://www.facebook.com/EmmanuelMacron/videos/2122543144644927/
…

5:34 PM - Mar 10, 2018 · India
914
372 people are talking about this
Twitter Ads info and privacy

6. India, France agree to step up space tech co-operation:
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Central National D'Etudes
Spatiales (CNES) inked an agreement for an end-to-end solution for
detection, identification and monitoring of vessels in the regions of
interest.
India and France share a robust relationship in the area of space which is
five-decades-old.
In the field of atomic energy, the two countries signed an agreement to
expedite the work on Jaitapur nuclear power plant. The "Industrial Way
Forward Agreement" was signed between EDF, France, and Nuclear Power
Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). The EDF will be constructing six
atomic reactors in Jaitapur with a capacity of 1,650 MW each. The plant
which will come up in coastal Maharashtra will be the largest nuclear park
in the country.

7. Turban issue:
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Union Minister for food processing said she had
written to the prime minister, asking him to take up the issue of Sikh
turbans with President Macron. She urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to
take up with the French President the issue of Sikh community members in
France being asked to remove their turbans for all official identification.
Badal said she had "received repeated requests from the Sikh Community
settled in France as well as the Counseil Representatif des Sikhs de France
that a law which required removal of turbans while being photographed for
passport, ID card, health card, transport card, driving licence or any
other identification issued by the French administration was causing them
severe humiliation".

8. Rafale jets
Noting that defence cooperation between the two countries now has a "new
significance”, Macron said: “India had made a sovereign decision in this
respect (Rafale fighter jet) and we are monitoring the progress in the
field. We very much want to continue the programme. It is a long-term
contract which is mutually beneficial. I personally consider it as the
heart of the strategic partnership.”
India had signed a government-to-government deal with France in 2016 to buy
36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of about Rs 580 billion (Rs 58,000 crore).
The Congress has been demanding details of the deal, alleging that the deal
negotiated under its rule was much cheaper than the contract signed by the
Modi government.

9. Modi, Macron to visit Varanasi
Emmanuel Macron and PM Narendra Modi will visit Varanasi on Monday to
inaugurate a solar plant at Mirzapur. They will also visit Assi Ghat, take
a boat ride and have lunch on the banks of the holy Ganga.

10. Kovind on low bilateral trade
The bilateral trade between India and France worth $11 billion was far
below potential, President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday said, adding that
the trade basket between the two countries could be diversified and new
avenues explored.

Welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron, Kovind said India's strategic
ties with France had been expanding not just in traditional sectors of
defence, space and civil nuclear energy, but also in the emerging areas of
counter-terrorism and maritime and cybersecurity.

First Published: Sun, March 11 2018. 12:29 IST

II.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/frances-macron-hard-sells-36-more-rafales-india-silent-on-deal/articleshow/63250850.cms

France's Macron hard-sells 36 more Rafales, India silent on deal
TNN | Updated: Mar 11, 2018, 08:29 IST

HIGHLIGHTS
The Rafale deal has been at the centre of a political ruckus with Congress
alleging corruption and BJP rejecting the charge vehemently.
The first 36 Rafale jets are slated for induction at the Hasimara (West
Bengal) and Ambala (Haryana) airbases between November 2019 and mid-2022.

NEW DELHI: The India-France joint statement has no mention of the
acquisition of another 36 Rafale fighters as hoped for by the French
government even as President Emmanuel Macron declared that the defence
contract is at the heart of the strategic partnership between the two
countries.

Indian sources said a decision on more Rafale fighters will be taken once
delivery of the initial lot of 36 jets begins though the two sides finally
signed an agreement for nuclear reactors at Jaitapur. The Rafale deal has
been at the centre of a political ruckus with Congress alleging corruption
and BJP rejecting the charge vehemently.

The two countries inked a range of agreements on Saturday that are the
building blocks of a wide arch of cooperation but the formal announcements
skipped mention of discussions on further Rafale acquisitions though Macron
clearly saw the deal as a significant marker in burgeoning India-France
ties.

“India had made a sovereign decision in this respect and we are monitoring
progress in the field. We very much want to continue the programme. It is a
long-term contract which is mutually beneficial. I personally consider it
as the heart of the strategic partnership,” Macron said.

France had wanted India to announce its interest in acquiring another 36
Rafale fighters, after the IAF inducts the first 36 jets being acquired
under the Rs 59,000 crore contract (7.87 billion euro) mega deal inked in
September 2016.

French defence minister Florence Parly, ahead of Macron’s ongoing visit to
India, had written to her Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman that France
is keen to “initiate discussions on the proposal of providing an additional
36 aircraft to the IAF, with a very significant share of Make in India".
She said, “A message to this effect during the visit would be particularly
appreciated."

The Indian defence ministry, however, says “no decision has yet been taken”
on whether to go in for the acquisition of two additional Rafale squadrons
(each has 18 jets) in the future. “It will be taken at a later stage once
the delivery of the first 36 jets begins,” said a source.

The first 36 Rafale jets are slated for induction at the Hasimara (West
Bengal) and Ambala (Haryana) airbases between November 2019 and mid-2022.
The IAF has projected the operational need to go in for another 36 Rafales
in the backdrop of its depleting number of fighter squadrons as well as
both Hasimara and Ambala having the requisite infrastructure to house two
squadrons each, as was earlier reported by TOI.

All this comes amidst the ongoing political slugfest between the NDA
government and Congress, with the latter levelling allegations that the
“non-transparent” Rafale deal was vastly overpriced, violated defence
procurement procedures, included no transfer of technology (ToT), and was
intended to benefit the Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Defence as the
“offsets partner” of the French fighter manufacturer Dassault Aviation.

The government, however, has strongly rejected the “baseless and unfounded
allegations”, stressing that it secured a “better deal” in terms of price,
capability, equipment, delivery and maintenance than the one “notionally
being negotiated” by the previous UPA regime for 126 Rafale jets under the
now-scrapped MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project. It pointed
out that the UPA had failed to seal a deal even seven years after Rafale
emerged the best bidder, leaving the IAF seriously depleted. There was no
“deal” to compare with the one signed by NDA but even so the terms signed
for fly away condition of fighters was better.

TOP COMMENT
As an Israeli well wisher of India, and someone who also admires Modi
personally, I would like to point out to all Indians that the additional
Rafale deal is NOT in the best interest of India. Egypt and Qatar are the
only two countries who have bought these fighter jets so far, and Dassault
desperately needs India to buy these jets so they can push these same jets
to other countries too. Please focus on making these jets in India. Push
your defense agencies to work on fifth-generation fighter planes. The U.S.
and China have already started the ground work for sixth-generation fighter
planes. You should NOT buy more fourth-generation Rafales. The Tejas Mark 2
variant of Tejas would be a 4.5 generation fighter, so why go for Rafale?
Stop your reliance on foreign fighter planes, and start focusing on
designing and building them in India. Self-reliance is the best reliance.
Israel can help you folks a lot in terms of transfer of technology for
these fighter planes. Let us work together to make India stronger.
Col Avner Mueller

“There is no scam here,” said defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman last
week, rejecting any comparison with the infamous Bofors howitzer scandal
that brought down the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1989.

Apart from the Rafales, France is also one of the four contenders for
Project-75 (India), under which six advanced stealth submarines are to be
built here through a collaboration between a foreign ship-builder and an
Indian shipyard for an estimated Rs 70,000 crore ($10.9 billion). French
Naval Group-DCNS is already constructing six Scorpene submarines at Mazagon
Docks in Mumbai under the over Rs 23,000 crore Project-75.

-- 
Peace Is Doable

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