The Rafael Deal is currently being heard at the Supreme Court, and both the BJP and the Congress are involved in a bitter slug fest over it. Amidst this furore , Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman left for France on a three-day visit which comes amid a massive controversy over the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace company Dassault Aviation under a Rs 58,000 crore deal.
Sitharaman’s visit comes nearly three weeks after former French President Francois Hollande was quoted by French publication ‘Mediapart’ as saying that Indian government proposed the name of Reliance to partner with Dassault Aviation for the Rafale deal.
Officials sources said Sitharaman will hold wide-ranging talks with her French counterpart Florence Parly on ways to deepen strategic cooperation between the two countries and the two sides will also deliberate on major regional and global issues of mutual interests.
They said Sitharaman will also take stock of progress in the supply of the Rafale jets by Dassault to the Indian Air Force. There was indication that she may even visit the facility where the jets are being manufactured.
In their talks, Sitharaman and Parly are expected to deliberate on joint production of military platforms and weapons by the two countries.