India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September last year for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore, nearly one- and-half years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the proposal during a visit to Paris. The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September, 2019.
Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, Macron was asked if the Indian government had at any point told France or Dassault – the French aerospace major – that they had to accept Reliance as the Indian partner for the Rafale deal.
“I will be very clear. It was a government-to-government discussion and I just want to refer to what Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi very clearly said a few days ago . I don’t have any other comment. I was not in charge at that time and I know that we have very clear rules,” he said in his first comment on the issue.”Macron told reporters here Tuesday without elaborating.
Macron, who assumed the presidency in May last year, emphasised that this is a government-to-government discussion and “this contract is part of a broader framework which is military and defence” coalition between India and France.
“This one is very important to me because this is a strategic” coalition and not just an industrial relation. “That is my point.
Earlier a huge controversy over the Rafale deal has erupted in India after a report in the French media quoted former president Francois Hollande as saying that the selection of the Indian company in the Rafale deal was done at the behest of New Delhi.
Hollande said that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for the French aerospace giant in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice.
His comments to ‘Mediapart’, a French language publication, triggered sharp reactions from the opposition parties which have been accusing the government of massive irregularities in the deal and benefiting Reliance Defence Limited despite not having any experience in the aerospace sector
Political observers said French President Emmanuel Macron statement “government-to-government discussion” didn’t give any cover to Modi government decision making as the main question here is why a 12 day old 5 lakhs capital based new company ( Reliance ) is been preferred over Gaint old traditional Aircraft manufacturing Government agency HAL.
And this preference of private firm over government agency question got more value after both Ex president and Current president has said the Rafale deal is “government-to-government discussion”
The Raffle deal Seller’s country both Presidents now spoken but buyer Country Prime Minister silence helps Opposition to gather storm against the ruling benches marking this as 36000 Cr Scam the #rafalescam