WATCH: Macron saying he won’t interfere if Modi govt “want to reveal” details of Rafale deal  

Macron’s earlier comments on the deal raises doubts on the statement issued by France’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs spokesperson on Friday

PTI photo
PTI photo

NH Web Desk

As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) moved a privilege motion against Congress President Rahul Gandhi accusing him of misleading the Parliament on Rafale deal, a video clip of French President Emmanuel Macron telling an English news channel that he won’t mind if the government wanted to reveal details of the Rafale aircraft deal in Parliament has started to do rounds of social media.

“And if Indian government reveals some details of the deal, which they want to reveal to the Opposition and Parliament, then I am not the one to interfere in such discretion,” Macron had told India Today’s Group Editorial Director Raj Chengappa in an exclusive interview ahead of the French leader’s visit to India in March.

The video clip of Macron’s interview was tweeted by veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, the consulting editor at India Today.

Macron’s earlier comments on the deal raises doubts on the statement issued by France’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs spokesperson on Friday.

“We have noted the statement of Mr Rahul Gandhi before the Indian 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,” said France, amid a debate during the no-confidence motion against PM Modi’s government.

“These provisions naturally apply to the IGA concluded on 23 September 2016 on the acquisition of 36 Rafale aircraft and their weapons,” said France’s foreign ministry’s spokesperson, after being asked to react on Rahul’s allegations against the Modi government.

Macron’s statement has been invoked by Congress in the wake of BJP’s privilege motion against Rahul, after the Congress president criticised the government for not making public the cost of buying fighter jets from France-based company Dassault Aviation.

In a statement issued by the party on Friday evening, Congress said, “On March 8, 2018, in an interview to a prominent news channel, French President, Mr Emmanuel Macron stated that if the Modi government wanted to disclose some of the details, it can do so. Why is Modi Govt then refusing to disclose the price?”

Accusing Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of lying on the $8.7 billion deal to buy 36 aircraft, Congress said, “Minister of State for Defence, Dr Subhash Bhamre, in a reply to an unstarred question in Lok Sabha on 18.11.2016, revealed the price of each Rafale aircraft as approximately ₹670 crore. It actually is ₹1670 Cr as is apparent from the Annual Report, 2016 of Dassault Aviation.”

The main opposition party questioned, “Why is Defence Minister then lying today?”

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Published: 20 Jul 2018, 8:30 PM