After a deal that had been in the works for long, India and France agreed upon delivering 36 Rafale fighter jets to India, from their Dassault Aviation company. As part of the deal, France has already delivered two batches of 5 jets each and they have also been inducted into the Indian Air Force. The rest of the aircraft would be delivered in phases, as agreed upon, in the deal. Now, fearing India’s increased air superiority, Pakistan had reportedly approached France for upgrading the Mirage aircraft that they had earlier purchased from them. However, in recent times, Pakistan’s relationship with France has been on rocky terms after the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had been openly criticising the French President Emmanuel Macron, over his statements on the recent terrorist attacks in their country.
Media reports state that France had snubbed Pakistan’s request for the Mirage upgradation and refused to cooperate. Pakistan had also requested for upgradation to their submarines but that request had also been declined. As a response to this, as well as to India’s rising security concerns, France has now issued directions to keep all Pakistani origin technicians, away from the Rafale fighter jets, under the export control regime. These directions have also been issued to other nations which have purchased the Rafale jets, especially Qatar, not to allow any Pakistani origin technicians to work on the Rafale planes. Sources state that France fears for technical information leaks to Islamabad happening, if any Pakistan origin technicians work on the Rafale planes.
India is said to have raised these security concerns to France, as the Rafale jets have now become a part of our country’s frontline defences. There have also been reports of Pakistan sharing vital defence data with China in the past and these have come together in France issuing such a directive. India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla recently visited France on October 29th and he was then assured by the French Government that it was sensitive to the security concerns of its ally (India) and also informed him of this decision to not allow any Pakistani origin technicians to work on the Rafales.