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France hopeful for India defence deals as West courts Modi

Published on Jun 30, 2014 10:22 PM
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (L) and Indian Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley shake hands during a meeting in New Delhi on June 30, 2014. Fabius is in India for a two-day official visit during which India and France are expected to discuss issues including a multi-billion dollar Rafale combat aircraft deal. --PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday he expected progress on a US$12 billion (S$15 billion) deal to sell fighter jets to India, setting his hopes on changes promised by the newly installed government.

Mr Fabius, the first Western minister to hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration, raised the slow-moving Rafale jet deal during talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi.

"We are pretty confident in swift developments and it would be very important because stemming from this contract we can develop a large partnership in the domain of defence," Mr Fabius told a press conference.

He underscored that the new right-wing government, which swept to power in May with the strongest mandate in 30 years, was "keen on the efficiency and implementation of decisions".

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