Rafale controversy Indian issue, says French diplomat

Sonia Barbry, Consul General of France in Mumbai, said the purchase deal came after following all due processes.

Published: 04th May 2019 01:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 01:22 AM   |  A+A-

Rafale fighter jet

Rafale fighter aircraft (File | PTI)

By PTI

PANAJI: The controversy over purchase of Rafale fighter jets is an Indian issue and the country will realise the aircraft's "amazing" technology once it starts using them, a top French envoy said Friday.

Sonia Barbry, Consul General of France in Mumbai, said the purchase deal came after following all due processes.

"For us, we believe the controversy over Rafale is an Indian issue. We have done all the process. We have gone through all the processes. And we know India has very specific need of such aircraft," Barbry told PTI here.

Terming Rafale as the best combat aircraft in the market, she said, "France will soon deliver the first lot of aircraft in a few months. Let India use them, they will see what an amazing technology it is and then the Indian government will be free to decide what they want to do." She claimed that India would require more such aircraft.

The Rafale deal is at the centre of an acrimonious fight between the BJP-led Union government and the Congress, with the latter claiming kickbacks in the deal and accusing the Narendra Modi-led regime of buying the aircraft at a high price.

The commitment and importance of the relationship between India and France was irrespective of which party was in power in either of the countries, the diplomat said.

READ HERE | Rafale verdict review plea: SC directs Centre to file response by May 4

"The beauty of Indo-French relationship is that we have had strategic dialogues and partnership since 1998 and the relationship goes on to defence cooperation and security intelligence and is beyond political shifts," Barbry said.

"In France, we had a right wing government in 1998 and then it shifted to a left wing government, but there was no change (in Indo-French relations). In India it was the Congress and then the NDA but we have seen no change in the commitment and importance given to the relationship," she said.

Stating that France worked "very well" with the NDA, Barbry said, "But we are also confident that these defence interests are very crucial for India and also France. We are confident that whatever the government will be (after the ongoing Lok Sabha polls), these relationships are going to stay because this goes beyond political interests."

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