Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Thursday, 18 October, said the controversy surrounding Rafale deal will not affect bilateral relations with France.
“We continue to enjoy a very strong relationship with France, it is a strategic partner for India. This has not impacted the bilateral relations between India and France,” he said.
The Centre stands accused by the Opposition of crony capitalism in giving the contract for the deal to businessman Anil Ambani’s Reliance instead of India’s public-sector defence manufacturer, HAL.
Speaking of the S-400 defence system deal signed with Russia, he said the deal was in the national interest and that India has conveyed its expectations to the United States over the Iran sanctions.
MEA Spokesperson Addresses MediaPosted by The Quint on Thursday, October 18, 2018
“S-400 air defence system is dictated by our national interest. We have shared our points with the United States. The idea is to remain engaged with the US as far as this issue is concerned,” said Kumar.
“We have made our expectations known to the US side. United States Secretary of State Pompeo has said that the sanctions on Iran are not to hurt India,” he added.
India and Russia signed the $5 billion S-400 air defence system deal on Friday, 5 October, after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was on an official visit to India.
The agreement was signed in the presence of both the leaders at the 19th India-Russia annual bilateral summit.
The S-400 missile defence system deal could result in US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) instituted by the US Congress on arms purchases from Russia.
The US had urged all its allies to forgo transactions with Russia, warning that the S-400 missile defence system that India wanted to buy would be a "focus area" for it to implement punitive sanctions against a nation undertaking "significant" business deals with the Russians.
(With inputs from PTI)
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