India Abroad

French Media Claims Reliance Mandatory For Rafale Deal, Dassault Shuts Down Claims

ANANYA BHATNAGAR | 0
8648
| October 11 , 2018 , 10:07 IST

Fresh Controversies erupted on Wednesday after a French media report claimed that a senior official in Dassault Aviation saw the partnership with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group as imperative and mandatory to getting the export contract with India for the Rafale aircraft.

The French media portal ‘Mediapart’, in its report said the Dassault Aviation’s document was based on what the aircraft manufacturer’s deputy CEO Loïk Segalen said during a presentation of the Dassault Reliance Aerospace joint venture to staff representatives in Nagpur in May 2017.

Dassault Aviation, however, has denied the report and said it "has freely chosen to make a partnership with India's Reliance Group".

A report from the aircraft manufacturer said, “Within the framework of the September 2016 Inter-Government Agreement between France and India, Dassault Aviation has sold 36 Rafale aircraft to India. In compliance with the Indian regulations (Defence Procurement Procedure) and as frequent with such a contract, Dassault Aviation has committed to offsets in India worth 50% of the value of the purchase.”

It also said, “Other partnerships have been signed with other companies such as BTSL, DEFSYS, Kinetic, Mahindra, Maini, SAMTEL. Other negotiations are ongoing with a hundred-odd other potential partners.

“In compliance with French regulations, Chief Operating Officer Loïk Segalen informed, May 11, 2017, the Central Works Council of the creation of the DRAL joint-venture in order to fulfill some of the offsets commitment,” the report read further.

Hollande’s Claims

Earlier in September, Former French President Francois Hollande told the media that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offsets clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal.

The French Government and the Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation later gave clarification on the Rafale Aircraft deal between India and France.

Spokesperson of France's Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs said that the French government had no role to play in choosing partner companies in India for the purpose of offsets contracts in the Rafale deal.

Further Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation also made it clear that the partnership with Reliance was their own choice, in a press statement the aircraft manufacturer said, “This is Dassault Aviation’s choice, as CEO Eric Trappier had explained in an interview published in MINT newspaper on April 17, 2018. This partnership has led to the creation of the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) joint-venture in February 2017. Dassault Aviation and Reliance have built a plant in Nagpur for manufacturing parts for Falcon and Rafale aircraft. The Nagpur site was chosen because of the availability of land with direct access to an airport runway, an essential condition of aeronautic activities.”

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