France has denied reports that Pakistani pilots under an exchange programme with Qatar were being trained to fly Rafale fighter jets.
“I can confirm that it is fake news,” tweeted French Ambassador to India Alexanre Ziegler, putting to rest speculations that Pakistani pilots had got hands on the Rafales before they were inducted into the Indian Air Force.
I can confirm that it is fake news. https://t.co/3XpPnfPqUc
— Alexandre Ziegler (@FranceinIndia) April 11, 2019
A February report of AIN Online had gone viral claiming that the first batch of pilots trained for Qatar (which has also ordered French Rafale jets like India) in November 2017 were Pakistani exchange officers.
The delivery of Rafale for India was expected to start by September. Indian government has also signed a ‘shady’ deal with the French plane maker to buy fighter aircraft. The agreement has come under severe criticism by the opposition parties who have accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of taking bribe from the company.
On Friday, the Supreme Court also outright rejected the centre’s argument that classified documents accessed by the media on the Rafale fighter jet deal can’t be evidence. The court said it will examine the secret documents while considering petitions asking for a review of its order giving the government a clean chit on the deal that the opposition alleges was corrupt.