French President Emmanuel Macron has refused to make any comments on the recent controversy over accepting Reliance as the Indian partner for the Rafale deal, on the plea that he was not in the government at that time.
“I will be very clear. It was a government-to-government discussion and I just want to refer to what Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi very clearly said a few days ago,” Macron told reporters without elaborating, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
“I don’t have any other comment. I was not in charge at that time and I know that we have very clear rules,” he said in his first comment on the issue. However, he said that the multi-billion dollar agreement for 36 fighter jets signed between India and France, was part of a broader framework which is military and defence” coalition between India and France.
“This one is very important to me because this is a strategic” coalition and not just an industrial relation. “That is my point. I just want to refer to what PM Modi said on this situation,” he added.
It may be recalled that a huge controversy over the Rafale deal has erupted in India after a report in the French media quoted former president Francois Hollande as saying that the selection of the Indian company in the Rafale deal was done at the behest of New Delhi.