New Delhi : Hours after Congress president Rahul Gandhi claimed that he had met French President and talked about the secrecy clause in the Rafale fighters deal, France on Friday asserted that the security agreement of 2008 in this regard legally binds the two nations to protect classified information. Refuting Rahul's claim, France added that the provisions of this agreement is also applicable to the Inter Governmental Agreement on 36 Rafale aircrafts, the negotiations for which concluded in September 2016.
"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," France said in a statement.
Rahul in his speech during the debate on no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha claimed that he had met French President during his visit to India and had asked about the secrecy clause in the pact, which according to the Congress president was denied by the French President.
In March 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to India had said in an interview that Rafale was a well negotiated deal but the details of that cannot be revealed.