'Win-Win Situation' Says French Envoy On Rafale Deal

The Congress and the BJP have been exchanging barbs over the deal, announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Paris in April 2015.

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French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler said Rafale purchase is "win-win" deal for both countries


New Delhi:  Alexandre Ziegler, the French Ambassador to India has said the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets is a "win-win partnership" for both countries.

The Congress and the BJP have been exchanging barbs over the deal, announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Paris in April 2015. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has accused the government of changing the deal to benefit a businessman - an accusation the BJP has brushed off.  

The party has also questioned the cost of the deal, saying India will be paying three times more for each aircraft than what the Congress-led UPA government had negotiated with France in 2012.

The government had strongly denied the allegation. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had promised to share the financial break-up of the 58,000-crore or $8.7 billion deal.

Asked about concerns that that the deal would cost India a massive sum, the French envoy reiterated that the deal was a "win-win" for India and France. "I will just recall what the Indian government has said on this - Every single word that has been spoken on this deal we agree with".

NDTV has learned that a confidentiality clause in the government-to-government deal signed in 2016 means neither India nor France can release these details unless ordered to do so by a court in the event of a disagreement between both parties.

Regarding allegations that the original deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was dropped and it was redone to favour a private manufacturer, the French ambassador refused to be drawn out. "I will certainly not comment on domestic policy on the Indian government. It is honestly just a good deal," he said.

The government has said the UPA had not been able to close the deal for 126 Rafale aircraft. It also says the new deal for 36 Rafale includes a superior weapons package and complete logistics support at two designated Indian Air Force bases.

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