Reliance To Meet Only 10% Of Offset Obligations In Rafale Deal: Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier

| October 12 , 2018 , 08:33 IST

A day after a French media report claimed that a senior official of Dassault Aviation said that the partnership with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group was mandatory for the Rafale fighter jet deal, Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier on Thursday clarified that the choice of Indian partner was their own.

He also specified that the joint venture with Reliance would meet 10 percent of Dassault Aviation's offset obligations and negotiations are on with around a hundred other Indian companies and partnerships have already been concluded with about thirty of them

In conversation with AFP, Trappier reiterated the statements he had made in an interview with MINT newspaper in April this year, that it was the choice of Dassault Aviation to partner with Reliance, leading to the creation of the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) joint-venture.

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"Signing an offset contract is a requirement of Indian law (Defence Procurement Procedure). The implementation of offsets is an obligation and, under the Indian regulation, the choice of the partners belongs to us," Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier said.

"Our joint-venture with India’s Reliance will meet about 10% of Dassault Aviation’s offset (compensations) obligations required by the 36 Rafale fighters contract with New Delhi," he said.

"In full compliance with this regulation, Dassault Aviation therefore decided to set up the DRAL joint venture with Reliance and build a plant in Nagpur, which should enable us to meet about 10% of these offset obligations. We are in negotiations with about a hundred Indian companies and partnerships have already been concluded with about thirty of them," Trappier said.

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"Dassault Aviation decided to establish a long-term presence in India through DRAL, a joint enterprise in which governance is provided by an Indian Chief Executive Officer and a French Chief Operating Officer. Dassault Aviation therefore exercises technical and industrial control over the operations, applying its standards and its flexibility. This JV will produce parts for the Falcon 2000 and Rafale. The choice of the Nagpur site, in central India, was dictated by the availability of land with direct access to an airport runway," he said.

Regarding the controversies surrounding the Rafale deal, the Dassault Aviation CEO said, "controversies are always unfortunate but we remain calm. Things are progressing rapidly. We set up DRAL on 10 February 2017 and the plant project was officially launched on 27 October 2017."

The Rafale fighter jet deal has been in controversy as Opposition parties, led by the Congress, have accused the ruling NDA government of corruption in the deal and of giving preference to Reliance over HAL for the deal's Indian partner.