Pakistan pilots trained to fly Rafale jets? French ambassador says ‘fake news’
New Delhi, Apr 11: French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler on Thursday rubbished the news of Pakistani Air Force pilots being trained on Rafale jets, being procured by Qatari Air Force.
"I can confirm that it is fake news," Ziegler tweeted in response to a February 13 news report by aviation news site, ainonline. French diplomatic sources confirmed to news agency PTI that no Pakistani pilots ever trained on Rafale jets in France.
Aviation International News reported in February that the delivery of the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets for Qatar has been done. Aviation International News reported: "The first batch of pilots trained for Qatar in November 2017 was Pakistani exchange officers."
There were concerns in the Indian military establishment after the report by the US-based website.
The report came in the midst of a simmering political slugfest over procurement of Rafale jets by the Modi government from France.
India is procuring a batch of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France at a cost of Rs 58,000 crore. The Congress has been alleging massive irregularities in the deal while the government has strongly rejected the charges.
In 2015, Qatar agreed to buy 24 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault Aviation in a 6.3-billion-euro deal. It ordered 12 additional fighter jets in 2017. The first Rafale jet was handed over to Qatar at a ceremony in February.