The Indian government on 22nd September officially proclaimed that it had no role in selecting Reliance Defence as India’s partner in the Rafale deal and that the deal between Ambani’s firm and Dassault Aviation is a commercial deal and that both the governments had no role to play in it. The Congress had voiced their dissent against the deal by commenting on the statement released by the French government claims that the French government “conceals more than it reveals”
The French Government has said it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the Rafale deal asserting firmly that French companies have the full freedom to select Indian firms for the contract to be fulfilled.
The statement by the French Government came on 21st September following a French media report which quoted former French President Francois Hollande as saying that ‘the Indian Government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rs 58,000-crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice’.
“The French statement conceals more than it reveals. The French government knows verbal interactions between former President Francois Hollande and Indian interlocutors are minuted and would emerge. Speculation of French Parliamentary hearing into Rafale and access to administration documents under France’s Freedom of Information Law 1978 rife,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari tweeted condemning the stands of both the governments.
Countering Congress’ claim, the BJP Defence Ministry stated
“Unnecessary controversies are being sought to created following media reports regarding a statement purportedly made by the former French President, Francois Hollande, concerning the selection of Reliance Defence as the offset partner by Dassault, the manufacturers of Rafale aircraft”
Under India’s offset policy, foreign defence entities are mandated to spend at least 30 per cent of the total contract value in India through procurement of components or setting up of research and development facilities which weren’t being fulfilled under this deal. Hence, ten days after India sealed the ‘government-to-government’ agreement on the Rafale deal, the Reliance Defence and Dassault had announced a joint venture in the aerospace sector and a year later the manufacturing facility was established.