Rafale row won't affect Indo-French ties: Ambassador

Rafale row won't affect Indo-French ties: Ambassador

Ambassador of France to India, Alexandre Ziegler (centre), speaks at the JLF on Friday. Photo by SUMAN SARKAR

Ambassador of France to India, Alexandre Ziegler on Friday said that the row on Rafale is a political issue with a short life and it will not affect Indo-French ties. 

Ziegler, who was at the Jaipur Literature Festival said that the controversy over Rafale will not affect relationship between India and France.

"The ties between the two countries are over 70 years old, and the nations have stood with each other in good as well as bad times. Controversies come and go, the bond stands firm," Ziegler replied to a question on the Rafale deal at a press conference held on the sidelines of Jaipur Literature Festival.

"Strategic partnership is a small part of our relations. But people-to-people is our real strategic partnership," the french ambassador added. Ziegler's remark on Indo-French ties becomes important at a time when the ruling BJP is facing allegations by the Opposition Congress that the former has misled the country on the Rafale fighter jets deal.

He further said that France provides employment opportunities to over three lakh youth in India and shares good cooperation in tourism, education and defence sectors. "We are also planning to open French learning sessions in small cities of India, as we did in Lucknow." 

Among other sessions at the JLF, the fourth edition of the Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia Award for Poetry was also held, and noted Tamil writer Rajathi Salma was conferred the award. She will be felicitated at the Diggi Palace on the January 27.

Salma has so far written two volumes of poetry, anthology and two novels, several of which have been translated to other languages. Moreover, Lakshmi Holmstrom’s English translation of her novel, titled The Hour Past Midnight, was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Prize and listed for the Man Asian DSC Award.