Dassault counters Hollande, says decision to partner Reliance was a company 'choice'

Last Modified Saturday, 22 September 2018 (12:26 IST)
New Delhi: After the French government, now it is the turn of the Aviation to issue clarification on its partnership with Group for making of to be supplied to India.
"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 Eric Trappier had explained in a media interview (published in April 2018)," a statement from the Dassault Aviation said.
"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," said the statement which has been posted on micro blogging site Twitter by French Ambassador to India Alexandre Zielgler.
"The Nagpur site was chosen because of the availability of land with direct access to an airport runway, an essential condition of aeronautic activities," the statement said.
Hours after former French President Francois Hollande's statement vis-a-vis preferential treatment meted out to Anil Ambani's company in Rafale deal created ripples in Indian political circle, the French government in a statement on Friday evening said French companies "have the full freedom to choose the Indian partner companies".
"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," a statement from France's Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.
Former French President remarks given to French media that his government did not decide about partnering with Anil Ambani-run Reliance Defence to partner with Dassault gave room to the opposition parties in India to point fingers at 'crony capitalism' of the BJP dispensation.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi too wasted no time to tweet: "The PM (Modi) personally negotiated and changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors".
This is second time the French government has issued statements on Rafale in last two months. First such statement had come from the French government in July after Mr Gandhi had claimed - "I personally met President of France, he told me there is no such pact" on certain secret clause.
Taking note of Mr Gandhi's statement made in Lok Sabha, the France government has said that the secrecy pact applies to the 2016 Rafale deal.
The latest statement comes after former French President is reported to have told a French media that the decision to choose Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as the Indian partner was not taken by the French government.
The Dassault Aviation also said partnerships have also been signed with other companies such as BTSL, DEFSYS, Kinetic, Mahindra, Maini, SAMTEL,? "Other negotiations are ongoing with a hundred-odd other potential partners".
"Dassault Aviation is very proud that the Indian authorities have selected the Rafale fighter," the company said.(UNI)