India's Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to meet her French counterpart, Florence Parly, to take stock of the progress in the Rafale fighter jet deal inked by the two sides in 2016. The development comes after India's apex court on Wednesday asked the Narendra Modi-led government to provide details of the decision-making process of the controversial Rafale deal in a sealed envelope.
"We are not on the issue of pricing and suitability of the Rafale jets but only on the decision-making process," a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.
On Monday, petitioner M.L. Sharma claimed in his plea that the inter-government agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an "outcome of corruption" and not ratified by parliament.
"The Supreme Court has asked for the #RAFALE decision-making process. It's quite simple really…The PM decided. The processes to justify his decision are yet to be invented. But work has begun. (Ps. In this connection, Raksha Mantri is leaving for France tonight.)" Rahul Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress, tweeted soon after the Supreme Court of India's direction.
Defense Minister Sitharaman will be in France for two days, where she will hold the first-ever defense dialogue with her counterpart, Parly. She will also meet French President Emmanuel Macron, besides visiting a few French air force and naval bases.