Hollande's remarks could harm Indo-France relations, says French junior foreign minister

Last Modified Monday, 24 September 2018 (12:09 IST)
New Delhi: A day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley used strong words against former French President for his raking up of the Rafale-Reliance deal row, the French Government has stated that it feared damage to its relations with India by the former President. 
"Because one is no longer in office, causing damage to a strategic partnership between India and by making remarks that clearly cause controversy in India is really not appropriate," junior foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said in an interview on Radio J.
The remarks from Mr Hollande, who left office in May 2017, sparked off a major political row in India with Congress president Rahul Gandhi stating that the former French President has virtually called Prime Minister - "a thief".
"I find these remarks made overseas, which concern important international relations between France and India, do not help anyone and above all do not help France," junior foreign minister said.
The French Government and aeronautics major Dassault Aviation have in separate statements sought to contradict Mr Hollande's statement and maintained the decision to select Reliance was purely a commercial decision of Dassault Aviation. 
Mr Jaitley on Sunday sought to suggest that there is a connection between Congress president Rahul Gandhi's tweet in August and the statement made by former the French President on September 21.
"It is no coincidence that on 30.8.2018 Rahul Gandhi had tweeted that "Globalised corruption. This aircraft really does fly far and fast! It's also going to drop some big bunker buster bombs in the next couple of weeks....The former French President's first statement rhymes with Rahul Gandhi's prediction," Mr Jaitley wrote in a Facebook posting. 
Moreover, in television interview, later said he does not have proof but the 'jugal bandi (partnership)' between Rahul Gandhi and Hollande do raise eyebrows.(UNI)