Q - The president of the Indian National Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, told the Indian Parliament this morning, “I met the President of France. I asked him about the secrecy clause and he denied that any such clause exists in the agreement. He told me so and I don’t have any objection if you tell this to everyone in the country; the gentleman clearly said there is no secret pact between the French government and the Indian government. So the defense minister has clearly spoken an untruth.” Do you have any comment?
A - We took note of Rahul Gandhi’s statements to the Indian Parliament. France and India have a security agreement concluded in 2008, which commits both states to protecting classified information provided by the partner that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defense equipment of India or France. Its provisions naturally apply to the intergovernmental agreement concluded on September 23, 2016, on the acquisition of 36 Rafale aircraft and their weapons. As President Macron said publicly on March 9 in his interview with India Today, “In India and in France, when the deal is very sensitive, we can’t reveal details.”