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Chirac Confirms India's 2.4-Bln-Euro Purchase Of Six Submarines, Airbus Planes

A file photo taken 21 October 2003 in the northwestern French port of Cherbourg shows the Scorpene submarine 'O'Higgins' being built for Chili. French President Jacques Chirac announced 12 September 2005 that India was purchasing six Franco-Spanish Scorpene submarines as he was receiving visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Paris. AFP photo by Mychele Daniau.
Paris (AFP) Sep 12, 2005
French President Jacques Chirac confirmed Monday India's 2.4-billion-euro (three-billion-dollar) purchase of six Franco-Spanish submarines as he received visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his Paris offices.

Chirac also confirmed the recent announcement by India's state-run Indian Airlines that it was buying 43 Airbus passenger aircraft in a deal worth 1.8 billion euros.

"I welcome the prime minister confirming to us today India's decision concerning the purchase of six Scorpene submarines and 43 Airbus planes," Chirac told journalists as he greeted Singh.

He called the deals "a measure of the friendship, trust and cooperation" between their two countries.

The talks between the two leaders were to focus on India's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, its desire to develop its civilian nuclear energy sector, and the fight against terrorism, he added.

Singh was the first foreign leader to see Chirac since the 72-year-old president was released from hospital last Friday after suffering what his doctors called a minor vascular problem that affected his vision.

The submarine deal, which France had been lobbying hard to win, involve the Franco-Spanish made vessels being assembled in Mumbai as part of a technology transfer arrangement.

The 65-metre (213-foot) long diesel-electric vessels are designed for coastal defence, with sophisticated detection equipment, six torpedo tubes and missile launchers. They are able to stay at sea for up to 45 days with a crew of 31, and can dive to a depth of 300 metres.

A spokesman for the Indian navy, Commander Vinay Garg, told AFP's bureau in New Delhi that official confirmation of the submarine contract was yet to be given, but that "if it gets cleared, the project to construct six submarines would commence."

He added that the additions "would be beneficial to Indian navy's overall force level."

The Airbus deal was previously announced by Singh and India's state-run Indian Airlines.

All rights reserved. 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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