Pakistani fighter pilots received training on Rafale jets? No, says French envoy

American aviation industry website reported that the first batch of pilots trained on the Rafale fighter jet for Qatar in November 2017 were Pakistani exchange officers.

Published: 11th April 2019 02:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2019 09:59 AM   |  A+A-

In this file photo dated Feb 20 2019 JA Rafale fighter aircraft lands during the inauguration of 12th edition of AERO India 2019 in Bengaluru. | PTI

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler on Thursday dismissed reports that Pakistani pilots was trained on Rafale fighter jets being procured by the Air Force of Qatar. India procured 36 jets at a cost of over Rs 58,000 crore in 2016 after negotiations for the deal began in 2012. Concerns had broken out in the New Delhi over the report which, if true, could mean that Pakistani pilots familiarised themselves with the fighter jet’s systems even before Indian pilots did. 

The report was published by the American aviation industry website It claimed that the first batch of pilots trained on the Rafale fighter jet for Qatar in November 2017 were “Pakistani exchange officers”.“I can confirm that it is fake news,” Ziegler tweeted.

French diplomatic sources backed Ziegler saying no Pakistani pilots ever trained on the multi-role fighters in France.In 2015, Qatar sealed a $7 billion deal with French aerospace major Dassault Aviation to buy 24 Rafale jets, and later the gulf nation ordered another batch of 12 fighters.

The first jet was delivered to Qatar recently. Pakistan and Qatar have robust political and military ties. 
The report by the American website came in the midst of a simmering political slugfest between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since the deal was finalised.  

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp