Just ahead of his visit to India, French President Emmanuel Macron has given a shot in the arm of the Narendra Modi government to counter Opposition's charge of irregularities in striking government-to-government deal for purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters.
In an exclusive interview with India Today Group Editorial Director Raj Chengappa, President Macron has said that if Narendra Modi government wants to divulge some of the critical information covered under the secrecy clause of the deal, France would not object to it. Macron is scheduled to visit India tomorrow.
Macron's statement assumes significance in the view of continued attack by the Opposition parties led by the Congress over Rafale deal. Congress president Rahul Gandhi had recently alleged that massive corruption happened in Rafale deal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was personally involved in it.
Speaking to India Today, Macron said that the economic, industrial and strategic interests had been given proper consideration in finalising the Rafale deal between India and France. He also said that though the deal was not signed during his tenure, it was in the interests of both the countries.
He also said when a deal involves extremely sensitive business interests, it is not desirable to give out details of such a pact. The details of the commercial agreements should not be made known to rival companies as doing so may hamper the interests of the firms and hence, secrecy is justified, Macron explained in his interview with India Today.
Macron emphasised that secrecy clause is there because of commercial agreement related to technical issues. However, he gave an assurance that if the Modi government wanted to share some details, covered under the secrecy clause, with the Opposition parties to clear confusion and resolve political stalemate, French government would have no objection to it.
He termed the defence deal between India and France a pact signed in good environment. The Rafale deal is considered crucial for India's defence preparedness in the coming years. Macron stated that the Rafale deal is the part of a comprehensive agreement between India and France in the field of defence cooperation.