An attempted break-in into the Indian Air Force (IAF’s) Rafale project office in Paris has sparked off fears of espionage.
“The incident occurred on Sunday and an investigation is underway. It is Dassault Aviation's responsibility as it has been on their premises,” The Hindu newspaper said quoting an IAF source.
The Paris office of the IAF Project Management Team (PMT) was overseeing the Rafale fighter deal implementation. The PMT consists of four IAF officers headed by a Group Captain.
This is not the first unusual incident involving the Rafale deal. The Indian Supreme Court is currently hearing a case involving the leak of ‘secret papers’ concerning the Rafale procurement project which was published by the Hindu newspaper.
The Attorney General of India has sought prosecution under the Official Secrets Act for leaking the documents which according to him compromised national security.
In September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) in September 2016 for 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition and also has a 50% offset clause to be executed by the French partners.
The Modi government had in 2015 accelerated the Rafale procurement process by directly opening talks with France following years of negotiations with Rafale manufacturer, Dassault Aviation which had hit a roadblock.