#RafaleDeal: French official criticizes Hollande, but doesn't deny his claims

Shiladitya Ray

#RafaleDeal: French official criticizes Hollande, but doesn

24 Sep 2018: #RafaleDeal: French official criticizes Hollande, but doesn't deny his claims

Just days after former French President Francois Hollande's comments about the controversial Rafale deal triggered a political slugfest in India, the French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, has said that Hollande's comments "render no service to France."

Interestingly, however, Lemoyne did not, in any way, contradict Hollande's claim about the Rafale deal.

Here are the details.

Fact: What Lemoyne said about Hollande's comments

"I believe that this small observation made abroad concerning the important relations between France and India does not do anyone any service, and certainly renders no service to France," Lemoyne told Radio J in France.

Comments: Hollande had alleged that India proposed Reliance Defence

On Friday, former French President Francois Hollande, who signed the Rafale deal with India, alleged that the French government didn't have a choice, as Reliance Defence was "given" to them by the Indian government as an offset partner for the Rs. 59,000cr Rafale deal.

This statement contradicts the Modi government's stance that it had no involvement in the deal between Dassault and Reliance Defence.

Fact: Francois Hollande's exact words

"We didn't have a say in that. It was the Indian government that proposed this service group (Reliance), and Dassault who negotiated with Ambani. We didn't have a choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us," Hollande had said to French website Mediapart.fr.

Integrity?: India's Defense Ministry raises questions about Hollande's integrity

Following Hollande's comments, India's Defence Ministry, on Saturday, raised questions about Hollande's own integrity.

For those unaware, Hollande faces accusations of crony capitalism in France.

Just two days before the Rafale deal was inked, Hollande's partner Julie Gayet's firm entered into a deal with Reliance Entertainment to jointly produce a film.

Hollande, however, maintains that he wasn't aware of the development at the time.

Fact: Hollande denies allegations of crony capitalism

Speaking to Mediapart.fr about the deal between Gayet's firm and Reliance Entertainment, and allegations of that influencing the Rafale deal, Hollande had said, "This group [Reliance Group] did not have to give me any thanks for anything."