French President clarifies: I wasn’t in-charge when Rafale agreement was reached

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New Delhi, French President Emmanuel Macron has said that the Rafale deal was a “government-to-government” discussion and he was not in power when the multi-billion dollar agreement for 36 fighter jets was signed between India and France.

Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, Macron was asked if the Indian government had at any point told France or Dassault – the French aerospace major – that they had to accept Reliance as the Indian partner for the Rafale deal.

India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September last year for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore, nearly one-and-a-half years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the proposal during a visit to Paris. The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September, 2019.

“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, who became French President in May last year, told reporters without elaborating.

“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.

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