Rahul Gandhi to meet Macron on March 11
Though the meeting does not figure in the Ministry of External Affairs' detailed itinerary for Macron's visit, Gandhi's office confirmed to IANS that a meeting is scheduled for Sunday
Rahul Gandhi. Pic/PTI
New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to meet French President Emmanuel Macron during the four-day visit of the foreign dignitary that begins later on Friday. Though the meeting does not figure in the Ministry of External Affairs' detailed itinerary for Macron's visit, Gandhi's office confirmed to IANS that a meeting is scheduled for Sunday.
Political circles in the capital are speculating whether the controversial Rafale fighter aircraft deal will figure in their discussions -- and whether Macron will seek to clear the Congress President's misgivings about it.
The Congress has been attacking the Narendra Modi government over its decision to scrap the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-negotiated deal for 126 Dassault-built Rafale fighter jets and instead buy just 36 of them in fly-away condition.
The party, which has raised the matter in Parliament as well as outside, has alleged that the Modi government is buying the aircraft at a highly inflated price, compared to the one negotiated by the UPA.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman refused to reveal the price of the 36-aircraft deal citing a "secrecy clause" in the agreement signed with the French government.
Since his elevation as President of the largest opposition party in Parliament, Gandhi has been meeting visiting heads of state and government.
Since December, he has met Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He was away in Italy during the visit of Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang, who met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He, however, did not meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the King of Jordan Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein.
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Rahul Gandhi conducts high level meeting of party general secretaries at Congress headquarters