Rafale deal: Had no role in choice of Indian offset partner, says French government

Dassault Aviation said it has decided to make a partnership with the Reliance Defence in accordance with the policy of ‘Make in India’

Updated - November 28, 2021 12:28 pm IST

Published - September 22, 2018 09:15 am IST - New Delhi

A Rafale jet. File

A Rafale jet. File

The French Government, in a statement on Friday, said that they had no role in “the choice of Indian industrial partners” while Dassault Aviation (DA) said it was their choice of selecting Reliance Defence as the local offset partner.

The statement by the French government came following a French media report which quoted former President Francois Hollande as saying that the Indian government proposed the Anil Ambani-run Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the ₹ 58,000 crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice.

However, neither statement directly denied the claim by former French President Francois Hollande that it was the Indian Government which proposed the name of Reliance Defence.

'Took the interlocutor that was given'

“The French government is in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners who have been, are being, or will be selected by French companies. In accordance with India’s acquisition procedure, French companies have the full freedom to choose the Indian partner companies that they consider to be the most relevant, then present for the Indian government’s approval the offsets projects that they wish to execute in India with these local partners so as to fulfil their obligations in this regard,” Spokesperson of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs said in a statement. 

The statement added that the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed on September 23, 2016 between the French and Indian governments for 36 Rafale aircraft concerns the obligations of the French government “solely with regard to ensuring the delivery and quality of this equipment.”

Mr. Hollande told a French news outlet on Friday that his government didn’t have “a choice” in the selection of Reliance Defence, the company owned by Anil Ambani. “It is the Indian government who has proposed this service group and it is Dassault that has negotiated with Ambani. We didn’t have a choice, we took the interlocutor that was given to us,” he was quoted as saying.

Dassault's statement

Dassault Aviation, which manufactures the Rafale jets, said that in addition to the IGA, there was a separate contract that committed them to “make compensation investments (offsets) in India” worth 50% of the value of the purchase.

In this framework, and in accordance with the policy of Make in India, Dassault Aviation had decided to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group. This is Dassault Aviation’s choice, as CEO Eric Trappier had explained in an interview...,” the company said in a statement.

Under this, DA and Reliance group set up a Joint Venture Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd in Nagpur Nagpur for “manufacturing parts for Falcon and Rafale aircraft.”

Both the statements pointed that several other such agreements were signed by other French companies with both public and private firms in India. “Other negotiations are ongoing with a hundred-odd other potential partners,” DA added.

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