India Abroad

Hollande's Comments Damage India And France's Strategic Partnership: French Govt

| September 24 , 2018 , 14:16 IST

The French government said that the comments made by former President Francois Hollande on the Rafale deal,  can damage the strategic partnership between India and France, and condemned Hollande's statements as 'not appropriate' in a statement on Sunday.

Hollande left office in May last year and during a trip to India on Friday commented on the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal, claiming that French jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation "did not have a say in it" on its local partner in the Rafale jet deal.

France's junior foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne on Sunday said, "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."

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He added, "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."

The comments from the former France president Hollande came in the midst of allegations of a conflict of interest because Ambani's Reliance group, which won the Rafale deal, also partially financed a film produced by Hollande's girlfriend Julie Gayet in 2016.

Soon after Hollande's statements, the French government issued a clarification stating that French companies have the full freedom to choose their Indian partners.

ALSO READ: Rafale Deal: French Govt. Parts Away From Hollande's Claims, Dassault, Says Reliance, 'Our Own Choice'

The statement said, "In accordance with India's acquisition procedure, French companies have the full freedom to choose the Indian partner companies that they consider to be the most relevant, then present for the Indian government's approval the offsets projects that they wish to execute in India with these local partners so as to fulfill their obligations in this regard."

Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation also made it clear that the partnership with Reliance was their own choice, in a press statement the aircraft manufacturer said, “This is Dassault Aviation’s choice, as CEO Eric Trappier had explained in an interview published in MINT newspaper on April 17, 2018. This partnership has led to the creation of the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) joint-venture in February 2017. Dassault Aviation and Reliance have built a plant in Nagpur for manufacturing parts for Falcon and Rafale aircraft."


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