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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to fly Rafale sortie on October 8 in Paris

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New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will fly a sortie in a Rafale fighter jet on October 8 from a French airbase in Paris to gain first-hand experience of the aircraft, official sources said on Thursday. Singh is scheduled to travel to Paris on October 7 on a three-day visit, primarily to receive the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets.

“Rajnath Singh will fly a sortie on a Rafale aircraft when he formally receives the first aircraft in France on October 8. He will fly the sortie on a two-seater trainer aircraft,” a senior defence ministry official said.

Mr. Singh is scheduled to travel to Paris on October 7 on a three-day visit, primarily to receive the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets.

The ceremony to hand over the first Rafale jet will take place on October 8, the foundation day of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the sources said.

On October 9, Mr. Singh is scheduled to hold extensive talks with top defence brass of the French government on ways to further deepen defence and security cooperation between the two countries.

In September 2016, India signed a deal with the French government and Dassault Aviation to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets for over 7.8 billion euros to arrest the fall of combat squadrons and meet urgent requirements on the eastern and western fronts.

Defence Minister had recently flown in the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas in Bengaluru.

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Without a China trade deal, the U.S. will hike tariffs

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Washington: U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he would raise tariffs on imports of Chinese goods if no trade deal is reached with Beijing to end a tit-for-tat trade war that has roiled markets and damaged growth worldwide.

“China is going to have to make a deal that I like. If they don’t, that’s it,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “If we don’t make a deal with China, I’ll just raise the tariffs even higher.”

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was more measured in his comments, saying that the White House remains “optimistic” that an agreement can be reached.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday that he still expects a deal to be reached, but he also anticipated an additional 15 per cent tariff to be placed on about US$156 billion of Chinese imports on December 15 if there is no agreement.

“I have every expectation if there’s not a deal, those tariffs would go in place. But I expect we’ll have a deal,” Mnuchin

Predictions of a resolution have come and gone repeatedly as Trump veers from hints of imminent deals to declaring his satisfaction with the current standoff, because the United States is pulling in billions of dollars in trade tariffs.

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