Amid Rafale controversy, Dassault reiterated in a statement today that it had freely chosen Anil Ambani’s Reliance group for partnership.
“Dassault Aviation has freely chosen to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group. This joint venture, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL), was created on February 10, 2017. 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,” said a statement titled ‘Rafale contract for India: clarifications by Dassault Aviation‘ released on Dassault’s official website.
The statement comes on the backdrop of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tour to France. Ms Sitharaman will hold the first defence minister level meeting with her French counterpart, Florence Parly.
During her three-day visit, she will assess the progress of the supply of 36 Rafale jets by Dassault to the Indian Air Force under a Rs 58,000 crore deal. She is also expected to visit Dassault manufacturing facility. According to an NDTV report, Dassault is likely to push for more Rafale jets to be brought to India during the visit.
The #GreatRafaleCoverUp has begun. To try and show the deal is legit, Raksha Mantri will need to generate minutes of imaginary meetings held between the French & our MOD & both sides will need to agree on a common story to be spun to the media.
RM left for France last night.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 11, 2018
French media portal named ’Mediapart’ has claimed that they have acquired a documentary evidence in which a senior executive is quoted as saying that the group accepted to work with Reliance as “imperative and obligatory” condition for securing the contract for 36 Rafale jets for India.
Antonn Rouget, a journalist with Mediapart, told NDTV, “These are minutes of a meeting held on May 11, 2017 within the office of Dassault Aviation company which fully confirms the statement of Mr. Hollande on the choice or the imposition of Reliance Group as Dassault’s partner for the Rafale contract.”
Dassault denied all the allegations and issued the statement. The Indian government has also denied having any role in the selection of Reliance Defence by Dassault
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has described the visit of Nirmala Sitharaman to France as a “huge cover-up” by the government and demanded an investigation against the Prime Minister. He attacked PM Modi and said he was a “corrupt man who helped industrialist Anil Ambani pocket ₹30,000 crore in the purchase of the Rafale fighter aircraft.”