New Delhi : French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Saturday said the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets would bolster India’s security and it was a “win-win partnership” for both the countries.

The Congress and the BJP have been exchanging barbs over the Rafale aircraft deal, with Rahul Gandhi accusing the prime minister of allegedly changing the “entire deal” to benefit a businessman, a charge debunked by the ruling party, reports PTI.

India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September last year for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore, nearly one- and-half years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the proposal during a visit to Paris. The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September 2019.

To a question on the row over the fighter jet deal, Drian said, “I read the statement of the defence minister of India, who explains how the purchase of 36 Rafales has been a very good opportunity for India’s security and a very good opportunity to work in the context of Make In India as well.”

At the launch of Bonjour India 2017-18, a four-month-long event to mark Indo-French partnership, he told reporters, “It (the Rafale deal) is really a win-win partnership.”