* Rafale deal
NEW DELHI, July 20: France on Friday denied Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that French President Emmanuel Macron had told him that there was no secrecy pact with India on the Rafale jet deal, and said there was a legally-binding agreement security agreement binding the two countries which also covers the agreement to purchase the fighter jets by India. A French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs spokesman said in a statement that they had noted the remarks of Gandhi in Parliament.
“France and India concluded in 2008 a security agreement, which legally binds the two States to protect the classified information provided by the partner, that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment of India or France. “These provisions naturally apply to the IGA (Inter-government agreement) concluded on September 23, 2016 on the acquisition of 36 Rafale aircrafts and their weapons. As the President of the French Republic indicated publicly in an interview given to India Today March 9, 2018, when a deal is very sensitive, we can’t reveal all details,” he said.
Gandhi had said in his speech in the Lok Sabha on Friday during the debate on the no-confidence motion that Macron had told him that there was no secrecy pact with India on the Rafale jet deal, alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had lied to the nation about it. “I personally met the French President and asked him if there was a secrecy pact with India. He told me that no such pact was signed between the two countries. He said he had no hesitation in saying this and that I can tell this to my country,” he said.
Gandhi said the price per plane during the UPA regime was Rs 520 crore but when Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to France and “with some magic” powers, the price per plane increased to Rs 1,600 crore. (IANS)