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National News
Indian govt wanted Reliance for Rafale, we didn't have a choice: Ex-French prez Hollande
 
(New Delhi, Sep 21, 2018):The Indian government proposed Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence as a partner in the now-controversial Rafale deal, and France "didn't have a say in the matter", former French president Francois Hollande said in an interview published on Friday.

Hollande, who spoke to the French media house Mediapart, said, "It's the Indian government which proposed this service group [meaning Reliance], and Dassault which negotiated with Ambani. We didn't have a choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us."

The Rafale deal is an Indo-French agreement for the procurement of 36 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts (MRCA) jet fighters built by the French defence manufacturer Dassault Aviation. As part of an offset obligation, Dassault would invest 100 million euros in India to make the components for the fighter jets and Falcon civilian aircraft.

Mediapart said in its report that Hollande's version contradicts that of Indian authorities, "who maintain that it was Dassault which chose Reliance." The report also carried this Anil Ambani quote from August: "The Ministry of Defence played no role in the selection of Indian partners by the vendor".

Today, the Defence Ministry said, "The report referring to former French president Mr. Hollande's statement that GOI [Government of India] insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified."

"It is reiterated that neither GoI nor [the] French government had any say in the commercial decision."


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