The French Government on Monday stated that it feared damage to its relations with India after former France President Francois Hollande stirred controversy by claiming that Indian government had chosen Anil Ambani's Reliance as the interlocutor for Rafale. On Friday last week, Hollande, who left office in May last year, said that French jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation had been given no choice about its local partner in a 2016 Rafale deal with the Indian administration.
"I find these remarks made overseas, which concern important international relations between France and India, do not help anyone and above all do not help France," junior foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said about Hollande in an interview.
"Because one is no longer in office, causing damage to a strategic partnership between India and France by making remarks that clearly cause controversy in India is really not appropriate," he added.
Earlier on Saturday, the French Government and aeronautics company Dassault Aviation went all out to contradict Holland's statement and issued a press release. Moreover, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched an all-out attack on attack Rahul Gandhi and former France president Francois Hollande on Sunday. In an interview to ANI, he cited similarity between their statement and said that it was “no coincidence” that Hollande’s statement came days after Congress chief’s cryptic tweet on Rafale deal. Arun Jaitley suggested that the statements made by Hollande and Gandhi may have been ‘orchestrated’ as they are in perfect rhythm with each other.
”Yeh jo jugalbandihai, mere paas sabot nahin hai, lekin mann mein prashn khada hota hai (I don't have a proof to back this, however, this partnership does raise a question). Truth cannot have two versions,” Jaitley said.
Referring to the Congress party’s tweet alleging that Hollande had been bribed by Anil Ambani to get the Dassault partnership, Arun Jaitley questioned:
"I Pity Rahul Gandhi’s understanding- how is it a scandal if a dozen Indian companies say that for a 56,000cr contract if offsets are going to be 28,000cr, I want to be among the 20 who are going to make offset supplies? Everyone will get 2000-4000cr. How is it impropriety?"
Meanwhile, IAF Deputy Chief Air Marshal Nambiar, who successfully conducted the inaugural testing of the first Rafale plane manufactured for India, has given a clearance to the aircraft and as per sources, he is satisfied with the test flight. Air Marshal Nambiar, who was among the first test pilots of the LCA Tejas program, was tasked with the responsibility to take forward the maiden test. He completed the testing while sitting in the front cockpit. Two images were shared on this landmark event as a new dawn beckoned the Air Force of the country.
This was one of the first trials done by the IAF before a go-ahead is given to France in order manufacture more such jets. It is one of the landmark moments in IAF, given they had been waiting to test out this jet for the past two decades. The testing of Rafale comes as a major achievement for the IAF following the whole political saga behind the plane.