Rafale's Indian Air Force project bugged in France?

New Delhi, May 22:  The state-of-the-art Rafale jet has been at the centre of a political storm and extensive controversy in India.

It was hit by yet another mishap on Sunday night when unidentified people broke into the office of the Indian Rafale project management team in France.

The incident is being looked at as a possible attempt at espionage to steal crucial data related to the aircraft as other valuables or money are not kept in the project team's administrative offices.

With the Indian Air Force (IAF) starved of modern, cutting edge fighter aircraft, the Rafale deal is crucial to the modernisation plans of the Indian military.

"There was a break-in into the Indian Air Force Rafale project management team office which is located in a suburb of Paris in France. No hard disk or document has been stolen. More details are being ascertained about the motive," sources in the Indian Air Force were quoted as saying by ANI.

The French police is investigating the case.

The Rafale project team, whose office is located in a building complex in the Saint Cloud suburb of Paris, is headed by a officer of the rank of Group Captain.

The team deals with issues related to the 36 Rafale combat aircraft, including the production timelines and training of IAF personnel who have to handle the maintenance and flying operations of the plane.

Alleged corruption in the Rafale deal between French aviation company Dassault and the Indian government led by the BJP was one of the central issues in the manifesto of the opposition parties in the run up to the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections in India.

New24 Bureau

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