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India can reveal a few details of Rafale deal to clear Opposition’s doubts, says French president

Congress President Rahul Gandhi had accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of going back on her word to reveal the price of the fighter jets.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday the Indian government could reveal some details of the Rafale fighter jet deal to address the queries of the Opposition and prevent a political stalemate over the controversy. He gave the interview to India Today ahead of his trip to India starting Friday.

Macron, however, pointed out that the contract between India and France has a secrecy clause because it was a commercial agreement related to technical matters.

In February, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of going back on her word that she would reveal the price of the Rafale aircraft. He had also called the deal a scam and refuted the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s claims that the Congress had not disclosed the value of defence purchases when it was in power.

The French president explained that the defence deal concerns “extremely sensitive business interests” of the companies involved because of which its details cannot be made public. If the details of the commercial agreement find their way to rival companies, it may hamper their business interests, he said.

Macron added that the Rafale deal was signed with the economic, industrial and strategic interests of both India and France in mind. Calling it “a pact signed in a good environment”, he said the deal was part of a “comprehensive agreement” between the two in the field of defence cooperation.

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