France fears damage after Hollande fans controversy over Rafale deal | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

France fears damage after Hollande fans controversy over Rafale deal

Paris | ByAFP
Sep 23, 2018 09:46 PM IST

The French government and Dassault have in statements contradicted former French president Francois Hollande, saying Dassault chose Reliance Defence as a partner.

The French government said Sunday it feared damage to its relations with India after former president Francois Hollande stirred controversy about a major deal to sell Rafale fighter jets to New Delhi.

France's junior minister for foreign affairs Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said the remarks made by Hollande “do not help anyone and above all do not help France”.(AFP File Photo)
France's junior minister for foreign affairs Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said the remarks made by Hollande “do not help anyone and above all do not help France”.(AFP File Photo)

Hollande, who left office in May last year, said Friday that French jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation had been given no choice about its local partner in the 2016 deal with the Indian government.

Now catch your favourite game on Crickit. Anytime Anywhere. Find out how

The Narendra Modi government agreed to buy 36 Rafale jets from Dassault, which announced afterwards it was partnering for the project with billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance group rather than the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Hollande’s announcement that Dassault “did not have a say in it” added fuel to allegations by opposition parties that the Modi government had intervened to help Ambani.

“I find these remarks made overseas, which concern important international relations between France and India, do not help anyone and above all do not help France,” junior foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said Sunday about Hollande.

“Because one is no longer in office, causing damage to a strategic partnership between India and France by making remarks that clearly cause controversy in India is really not appropriate,” he said in an interview on Radio J.

Hollande made the comments to defend himself from accusations of a conflict of interest because Ambani’s Reliance conglomerate had partially financed a film produced by his girlfriend, Julie Gayet, in 2016.

The choice of Reliance for a highly strategic contract to upgrade India’s ageing fleet of fighter jets had caused surprise at the time because the group had no previous experience in the aeronautics industry.

Hollande’s comments made front-page news in Indian newspapers on Saturday and it was the top trending topic on Twitter.

Rahul Gandhi, chief of main opposition Congress party, who is seeking to defeat the BJP-led government in national elections next year, went on the offensive. “An ex-president of France is calling him (the prime minister of India) a thief. It’s a question of the dignity of the office of the prime minister,” he told a press conference in New Delhi.

Both the French government and Dassault have in statements contradicted Hollande, saying Dassault chose Reliance Defence as a partner.

Get World Cup ready with Crickit! From live scores to match stats, catch all the action here. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Budget 2024, Chandrababu Naidu CM Oath Ceremony Live, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, June 13, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On