French envoy to India Alexandre Ziegler

French Envoy to India Alexandre Ziegler termed Rafale controversy a short-term issue and added that India-France relations have stood the test of time

New Delhi: French Envoy to India Alexandre Ziegler has said the bilateral relationship between France and India is based on trust which goes back 70 years. The envoy was responding to a question whether Rafale deal will impact relations with India. Ziegler further said France has remained with India in the good moments and will also be there during tough times.

PM Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party has been attacked by the opposition over the Rafale deal. The party has been engaged in a bitter war of words with the Congress which has accused the Centre of lying to the country. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has constantly attacked the Modi government over the deal and accused the PM of giving away Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani-led Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited which was formerly known as Reliance Defence.

The Congress accused Ambani of getting the part of the contract through unfair means and also blamed the Centre for taking the contract away from the Defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Rahul Gandhi also accused the Modi government of helping his industrialist friends by snatching the contract from HAL which had been making aircraft for the past 70 years.

Last year in September, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the PIL filed in connection to the controversy and in December, the apex court dismissed all the petitions which called for a probe into the alleged irregularities in the deal and gave a clean chit to the Central government.