National

Rahul stands by his remarks on ‘secrecy pact’ in Rafale deal

New Delhi, Jul 20 (IANS) | Publish Date: 7/21/2018 12:57:27 AM IST
Even as France on Friday denied that Rahul Gandhi had been told by French President Emmanuel Macron that there was no secrecy pact with India on the Rafale jet deal, the Congress President stood by his remarks saying that these were made in presence of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party leader Anand Sharma.
“Let them deny it if they want. He (Macron) said that before me. I was there, Anand Sharma and Dr Manmohan Singh were also there,” Gandhi told reporters here.
Following Gandhi’s remarks made during the debate on the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, the French government issued a statement that there was a legally-binding agreement security agreement binding the two countries which also covers the agreement to purchase the Rafale fighter jets by India. 
It also said that the French President had indicated publicly in an interview that the deal was very sensitive and all details cannot be revealed. 
Gandhi had said in Lok Sabha that there was no secrecy pact with India on the Rafale jet deal, alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had lied to the nation about it.
“I personally met the French President and asked him if there was a secrecy pact with India. He told me that no such pact was signed between the two countries. He said he had no hesitation in saying this and that I can tell this to my country,” he said.
Gandhi said the price per plane during the UPA regime was Rs 520 crore but when Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to France and “with some magic” powers, the price per plane increased to Rs 1,600 crore.
France denies 
France on Friday denied Congress President Rahul Gandhis remarks that French President Emmanuel Macron had told him that there was no secrecy pact with India on the Rafale jet deal and said there was a legally-binding agreement security agreement binding the two countries which also covers the agreement to purchase the fighter jets by India.
A French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs spokesman said in a statement that they had noted the remarks of Gandhi in Parliament. 
“France and India concluded in 2008 a security agreement, which legally binds the two states to protect the classified information provided by the partner, that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment of India or France. 
“These provisions naturally apply to the IGA (Inter-government agreement) concluded on September 23, 2016 on the acquisition of 36 Rafale aircraft and their weapons. As the President of the French Republic indicated publicly in an interview given to India Today March 9, 2018, when a deal is very sensitive, we can’t reveal all details,” he said. 


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