Govt Made It Mandatory For Dassault To Have Reliance As Offset Partner, New Document Reveals
October 11th, 2018 / 11:55 AM
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Ahead of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Dassault factory in France where the 36 Rafale aircraft are being manufactured, a new allegation has emerged. As reported by French investigative journal Mediapart, Dassault Aviation’s decision of choosing Reliance Defence as the offset partner was a “trade-off” for the Rafale deal.
“Joint Venture was a trade-off”
As per the report by Mediapart, an internal Dassault document shows that the agreement with Reliance was presented as “mandatory” and a “trade-off” to obtain the Rafale sales contract.
The report further quotes Dassault’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Loik Segalen, who made a presentation to the company’s staff representatives in Nagpur in May 2017. Media report says that in the presentation, he explained to the staff representatives that “the joint venture was a ‘trade-off’, ‘imperative and mandatory’ to [obtain/take off] the market for Rafale.”
However, on October 10, Dassault Aviation said that the partnership with the Reliance Defence was not forced upon and that it was born out of free choice. The Dassault press release said, “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.”
Commenting on Segalen’s comment, the press release said, “In compliance with French regulations, Chief Operating Officer Loïk Segalen informed on May 11, 2017, the Central Works Council of the creation of the DRAL joint-venture in order to fulfil some of the offsets commitment.” As reported by The Wire, this could mean that Segalen tried to imply that the offsets, in general, were mandatory and was not specifically speaking of Reliance partnership in particular.
Indian Govt Proposed Reliance name, we didn’t have a choice: Ex-French President
In September, former President of France, Francois Hollande told Mediapart that his government did not have any involvement in deciding the role of Reliance Defence for the controversial Rafale deal with India. In fact, he claimed that it was Government of India which proposed the name of Anil Ambani’s company. His statement is important as this deal was formulated when he held the president’s office.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had then said that it was a perception war and called it a false propaganda.
Written by : Shraddha Goled
Edited by : Bharat Nayak