New Delhi: India is preparing to induct its first Rafale plane in September next year, and has already paid over Rs 25,000 crore to France for the 36 combat aircraft, for which a deal was signed in September 2016.

The deal worth €7.89 billion was signed with French firm Dassault Aviation to procure 36 planes as an emergency measure to arrest the dwindling number of fighter squadrons in the Air Force.

"As part of the payment plans, we have already paid more than Rs 25,000 crore to the French side as part of the terms and conditions agreed with them for the programme," government sources told MyNation.

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The sources said the Air Force would be saving at least 15-20% due to the payment terms and conditions and the savings might even go up to 40% depending upon other conditions. 

The Air Force has been stating that the Modi government has managed to get a better deal than the one negotiated by the Congress in 2008, in terms of price, maintenance terms, delivery schedule and other related issues.

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Recently, senior Air Force officers had stated that the service was in dire need of the Rafale planes for enhancing its combat capabilities and if the planes do not come on time, it will create a lot of problems for the service as the squadron strength in the force is critically depleted. Out of the 42 squadrons that the IAF should have, it has got only 31 at the moment.

The Congress has been alleging a scam in the deal saying that the Modi government had favoured the Anil Ambani-led Reliance to get offsets contracts worth Rs 30,000 crore which has been denied by both the government and the French side.