Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hollande’s Remarks on Rafale Damaging to India-France Ties, Says French Govt Official


New Delhi: Former French President Francois Hollande may have set the record straight on the selection of Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Defence as an offset partner in the Rafale deal, but, in doing so, he has triggered apprehensions that the India-France relationship could suffer collateral damage in the ensuing row.

This fear has been voiced by the French government, with the country’s junior foreign minister, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, saying that Hollande’s remarks “do not help anyone and above all do not help France”.

Curiously, as defence and French observers have noted, Lemoyne did not choose to contradict or refute Hollande’s main allegation.

Last week, the former French president caused a political storm in India with his revelation that the Indian government was the one that proposed Reliance Defence’s name for the Rafale deal. Hollande’s clarification came as Anil Ambani-led business house had partially financed a film produced by his girlfriend Julie Gayet, in 2016.

“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,” Lemoyne said on Sunday about Hollande.
24/09/18 The Wire

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