French defense firm, Dassault Aviation, on Wednesday, denied a report by French investigative journal Mediapart regarding the Rafale deal, it stated that
“The firm entered to an agreement with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, as it was presented as a trade-off to obtain the contract of Rafale sales. “
The Mediapart article also stated that the document showcases a top official of Dassault Aviation, Loik Segalen, on May 11, 2017, explained to one of its staff member that the joint venture was a “trade-off”, that was “imperative and mandatory” to win the Rafale deal.
Dassault Aviation, however, has denied the report stating that it has freely chosen to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group.
In September earlier this year, French President Francois Hollande told Mediapart that he did not have a say in the choice and that India had proposed the name of Ambani’s Reliance Defence. The Ministry of Defence had denied the claims, while France said it is ‘in no manner’ involved in choosing ‘French companies’ industrial partner for projects in India.
Rafale deal was negotiated by the previous Congress-led UPA government with Dassault Aviation for 126 Rafale jets. However, UPA could not seal the deal. After that, Prime Minister Modi personally negotiated the deal-making Anil Ambani’s firm the key offset partner. In 2015, Narendra Modi announced the procurement of a batch of 36 Rafale jets after holding talks with the then French President Hollande in Paris.