First Rafale Jet To Be Delivered To India In September: French Minister
NEW DELHI: France on Monday said the first Rafale fighter jet will land in India in September and it will be a strong signal of Indo-French cooperation. Thereafter, 35 Rafale jets will be delivered one by one, Minister of State for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Jean Baptiste Lemoyne said.
On the controversy surrounding the Rafale deal, he said, “The French government doesn’t care about controversies and we’ve a roadmap, we just want to deliver . It’s in the interest of the two countries. Rafale is a tool for better sovereignty for India.”
Replying to a query on an attempted break-in at the Indian Air Force’s Paris office, which is overseeing the procurement of the 36 Rafale fighter jets for India, last month, he said, “Investigation is going on. Indian authorities will be updated when we get new details”.
Mr Lemoyne welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal for a global conference to tackle the threat of terrorism, saying the fight against terror is at the heart of its priorities.
He made the remarks on the sidelines of an interaction with Indian alumni of French institutions in the fields of business administration, engineering and design in New Delhi.
“Every single initiative to fight terrorism is welcome because it is a threat to every country in the world… So, everything that can be done to unite efforts is welcome. It”s (terrorism) a global challenge like climate change. We will be closely looking at this initiative,” he said.
“Fight against terrorism is at the heart of our priorities… France stands alongside India on this… and I can say that we have strong relations on this front,” he said.
Mr Lemoyne’s trip is the first French ministerial visit to India after the Narendra Modi government assumed office for a second term.
Mr Lemoyne will also meet Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and a Confederation of Indian Industry delegation before returning to France late night today.
“French President Emmanuel Macron and PM Modi have a strong relationship personally. This visit is to prepare for PM Modi’s participation at G-7 Summit in August,” he said.
During a speech on his first foreign visit since winning re-election, PM Modi told Maldivian Parliament in Male on Sunday that “terrorism is not just a threat for a country, but to the entire civilisation”.