The response comes after ex-French President Francois
Hollande was quoted as saying
+ that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for France’s Dassault Aviation in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice.
“Unnecessary controversies are being sought to be 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,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
“It is once again reiterated that the government of India has no role in the selection of Indian offset partner which is a commercial decision of the Original Equipment Manufacturer,” the statement said. It added that as per India’s offset policy, foreign companies are free to select any local firm as their offset partners.
“It has been reported that a JV between Reliance Defence and Dassault Aviation came into being in February, 2017. This is a purely commercial arrangement between two private companies,” the MoD said.
Citing media reports of February 2012, the ministry said that within two weeks of being declared as the lowest bidder for the procurement of 126 aircraft during the then UPA government, Dassault had entered into a pact for partnership with Reliance Industries in defence sector.
“Dassault Aviation has issued a Press Release stating that it has signed partnership agreement with several companies and is negotiating with hundred odd other companies. As per the guidelines, the vendor is to provide the details of the offset partners either at the time of seeking offset credit or one year prior to discharge of offset obligation, which in this case will be due from 2020,” the statement said.
Earlier, French aerospace major Dassault Aviation clarified it was the firm’s personal decision to partner with Reliance for the Rafale deal.
“This offsets contract is delivered in compliance with the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 regulations. In this framework, and in accordance with the policy of Make in India, Dassault Aviation has decided to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group. This is Dassault Aviation’s choice,” the company said.
The French government, too, had said that it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the deal.
“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,” the French government had said in its statement.
The defence ministry’s response follows Congress president
Rahul Gandhi’s allegations
+ that there was “clear-cut” corruption in the Rafale deal.
The prime minister must clear his stand on the Rafale deal after Hollande’s remarks, Rahul said during a press conference today.