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French Embassy denies reports of Pakistan pilots training in Rafale jets delivered to Qatar, call it ‘fake news’

Essentially, an alarm was raised because if the Pakistani pilots were training in Rafale jets delivered to Qatar, the operational edge that the Airforce would have had over Pakistan would have been lost.

A February 13th news article on a defence portal called AIN Online surfaced on Social Media today based on which several defence analysts and journalists raised alarms. The report said that the first Rafale jets had been delivered to Qatar and that Pakistani pilots were being trained to use the jets. One of the first people to plug the report was NDTV’s Vishnu Som, who was defended the Rafale deal tooth and nail recently.

He tweeted that the report mentioned that the first pilots trained on Qatar’s just delivered Rafale were Pakistani exchange pilots.

Now, the French Embassy has clarified that this is “fake news” and that no Pakistani pilots have been trained in the Rafales delivered to Qatar.

Vishnu Som tweeted, “Have clarified with the French Embassy. They say the original story was fake news and after cross-checking, they found that no Pakistani pilots as part of a Qatari exchange programme on Rafale were trained in France”.

This clarification may have, however, came a tad too late as vested interests had already up the story to question the Modi government and the Rafale deal.

National Media Coordinator of Congress tweeted a story that was published by NDTV regarding the worry being raised for India by news of Pakistani pilots training in Rafales.

Taking a dig at the Modi government, journalist Sushant Singh who was earlier caught peddling lies on the Doklam standoff between India and China just to show the Modi government down, said that while Pakistani pilots were already training in Rafales, the Indian government was hell-bent on keeping details of the deal secret from the courts and from the people of India.

Foreign Editor of Hindustan Times peddled this news to declare that the Rafale deal was “turning out to be a mess”.

He asserted that even before India got the Rafale jets, Pakistanis would have already flown the jets.

Essentially, an alarm was raised because if the Pakistani pilots were training in Rafale jets delivered to Qatar, the operational edge that the Airforce would have had over Pakistan would have been lost. However, for journalists to report sensitive details and pronounce judgements on an entire defence deal without waiting for any sort of clarification is another problematic theme that defence report has been diseased with for the longest time.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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