‘Rafale deal had no secrecy clause for classified information’

New Delhi: The Congress Party on Saturday clarified that no secrecy clause was put forth regarding commercial information under the Rafale deal.

“During the meeting with French President, where Manmohan Singh Ji and I were present, on specific query from Rahul Gandhi Ji if there is any objection on the part of the French to disclose the price of the aircraft, French President clearly said there is no condition on their part,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told ANI.

The clarification came after a statement from a French Ministry official highlighted that an agreement had been signed between the two countries to protect classified information.

“One is classified information; one is commercial information which would also deal with parameters and price of aircraft. Rahul Gandhi never asked the French President for classified information. The French government has also said that only classified information can’t be revealed,” Sharma added.

During the No-Confidence Motion debate on Friday in Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi claimed that during the French President’s visit to India, the latter had denied the presence of a secrecy pact.

However, France retaliated saying an agreement had been inked to protect classified information in the light of security.

“We have noted the statement of Mr Rahul Gandhi before the Indian Parliament. France and India concluded in 2008 a Security agreement, which legally binds the two States to protect the classified information provided by the partner that could impact security and operational capabilities of the defence equipment of India or France. These provisions naturally apply to the IGA concluded on 23 September 2016 on the acquisition of 36 Rafale aircraft and their weapons. As the President of the French Republic indicated publicly in an interview given to India Today on 9th March 2018, ‘In India and in France, when a deal is very sensitive, we can’t reveal all details’,” the statement read. (ANI)