AIRSHOW-Rafale deal "highest priority" in India FY14 budget-air force chief

BANGALORE Thu Feb 7, 2013 2:04am EST

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BANGALORE Feb 7 (Reuters) - India's agreement to buy 126 Rafale fighter jets from France's Dassault Aviation is of the "highest priority" in India's budget for the upcoming financial year that begins in April, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne said on Thursday.

India picked the Rafale jet for exclusive negotiations over a year ago after a hotly contested bidding war with rival manufacturers, but is still to finalise the $10 billion deal.

The deal would not be signed during a visit of French President Francois Hollande to India next week, a diplomatic source said on Wednesday. (Reporting by Anurag Kotoky; Writing by Henry Foy; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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