* France seeks breakthrough in stalled talks on Rafale jets
* Indian official says major obstacles remain
(Adds Indian defence ministry official's comments)
By Sruthi Gottipati
NEW DELHI, June 30 French Foreign Minister
Laurent Fabius said on Monday he was confident about the outcome
of talks to sell 126 Rafale fighter jets to India in a
multi-billion-dollar deal that has been stalled for months.
Fabius is the first of a string of Western politicians due
in New Delhi over the next few weeks for talks with the new
government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They are drawn in
part by the prospect of defence deals, as the new administration
considers opening the industry to foreign investment.
"The discussion is developing in a very positive way and ...
we are very confident in the final outcome," Fabius told
reporters in the Indian capital.
An Indian defence ministry official, who declined to be
named because of the sensitivity of the matter, was more
"I don't think the deal will be signed very soon. There are
many intractable issues to be resolved," he told Reuters, while
declining to elaborate.
Modi, in office for just over a month, has vowed to get
India's economy out of the doldrums by cutting red tape to
revive infrastructure projects - including in the defence
The previous government was widely derided for failing to
follow through on promises and for letting major projects become
India chose French company Dassault Aviation's
Rafale in 2012 over other international jet manufacturers, but
disagreements over cost and work-sharing have slowed talks,
while India's weak economy has stretched government finances.
No final contract has been signed and rivals including
Britain still hold out hope the deal will fall through.
"It is fair that for complex matters it takes some time, but
there is a difference between some time and too long," Fabius
said, talking about deals in general.
"The notion of efficiency - which is very important if I
understand correctly, in the new government approach - is
completely shared by us," he added before talks with minister
Arun Jaitley, who holds both the finance and defence portfolios.
(Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Douglas Busvine and