New Delhi: Hours after the interview of former French president Francois Hollande published in the French publication quoted him saying that the Indian government was the one which proposed Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as Dassault Aviation’s partner in the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal, a new political storm brewed up in India on Friday.
To clarify its stand, Dassault Aviation, the makers of the Rafale jet, put out a statement after Francois Hollande's interview was published.
Here’s the full text of Dassault Aviation's statement on Rafale deal contract:
About the Rafale contract for India
(Saint-Cloud, France September 21, 2018) - Dassault Aviation provides the following clarifications regarding the contract signed in 2016 for 36 Rafale aircraft to India:
1. This contract is a government-to-government agreement.
It provides for a separate contract in which Dassault Aviation commits to make compensation investments (offsets) in India worth 50 per cent of the value of the purchase.
2. 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, 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.
3. 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.
4. Dassault Aviation is very proud that the Indian authorities have selected the Rafale fighter.
The French government clarified their in picking Indian industrial partners in the Rafale jet deal. It said, “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,” it added.
It said that the intergovernmental agreement was signed on September 23, 2016 between the Indian and French governments for supplying India with 36 Rafale aircrafts.
The deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.
The UPA government was earlier negotiating a deal to procure 126 Rafale jets, with 18 to come in flyaway condition and 108 to be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under licence.
The Modi government has repeatedly said it was Dassault that chose its India partner for offsets and that the Indian government had no say in the deal.