NEW DELHI: An unspecified number of unidentified people attempted to break into the Paris office of the Indian Air Force (IAF) team overseeing the manufacture of 36 Rafale aircraft ordered by India, two news reports said separately on Wednesday.
The attempted break-in happened on Sunday, a report by NDTV news channel said. The IAF project management team--headed by a Group Captain-ranked officer--works from an office located in a suburb of Paris. It is not clear whether the attempted break-in was an attempt at espionage, the NDTV report said. Similar details were also reported by news agency ANI.
The defence ministry, the IAF nor the French embassy were willing to comment, the report said. The Rafale is a nuclear capable aircraft and an attempt to steal plans related to weapons configuration or any technical specifications of the India-specific aircraft could seriously compromise its operations once inducted.
The purchase of the 36 jets is at the centre of the opposition's allegation against the government of crony capitalism. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of cancelling the previous UPA government's contract and signing off on an overpriced deal only to facilitate an offset contract for industrialist Anil Ambani's inexperienced defence company.