French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler on Friday said that the controversy over Rafale fighter jets deal would not hamper relations between India and France. Speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival, the French ambassador pointed that the ties between the two countries are over 70 years old and that the nations had stood with each other in good as well as bad times.
He further said that France provides employment opportunities to over three lakh youth in India and shares good cooperation in tourism, education and defence sectors.
According to the French Ambassador, Rafale is nothing more than a short-term political issue.
The remark by the French Ambassador comes even as the political slugfest between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress over Rafale fighter jets deal failed to end.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has continued to allege that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had favoured Anil Ambani in the Rafale deal, while the government has maintained that there had been no wrongdoing in the same.
During a recent debate on the issue in Lok Sabha, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had asserted that the Rafale issue would bring Narendra Modi and the BJP back to power. The Defence Minister had accused Rahul Gandhi of misleading the nation, and claimed that “Defence Ministry runs without dalals under Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
However, her statement had failed to deter the Congress chief, who responded saying, “French President Macron said that 'Price is not a part of the secret pact, and you are welcome to say this publicly.' There was another statement by ex-president Hollande, and he stated that Mr Anil Ambani's name was provided to me by the Prime Minister of India and the government of India...Defence Minister talked for two hours, but you never said who gave the contract to Anil Ambani.”
The Supreme Court had also recently dismissed all petitions seeking probe into the Rafale deal, saying it was not its job to get into the issues of pricing and offset partner selection.