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Paris: The French government said it feared damage to its relations with India after former president Francois Hollande stirred the Rafale controversy. 

Hollande, who left office in May last year, said during a trip to India that French jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation had been given no choice about its local partner in a 2016 deal with India. 

The Modi government agreed to buy 36 Rafale jets from Dassault, which announced afterwards it was partnering for the project with billionaire Anil Ambani rather than the public defence conglomerate HAL. 

Hollande’s announcement that Dassault “did not have a say in it” added fuel to claims from the Opposition that the Indian government had intervened to help Ambani.


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