Reliance was manda­tory in Rafale deal: French me­dia

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE -

RE­PORTS emerged late Wed­nes­day night that pick­ing Reliance De­fence was “manda­tory” for Das­su­alt Avaition for the deal of 36 Rafale jets.

Quot­ing French pub­li­ca­tion Me­di­a­part, In­dian me­dia out­lets re­ported that the Me­di­a­part ar­ti­cle said an in­ter­nal doc­u­ment showed a top Das­sault of­fi­cial ex­plain­ing to its staff that the joint ven­ture was a ‘coun­ter­part,’ ‘im­per­a­tive and manda­tory’ to win the Rafale deal.

For­mer French pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande had claimed in an in­ter­view to Me­di­a­part last month that the In­dian govern­ment had pro­posed Reliance De­fence as the part­ner in the multi-crore ru­pee Rafale deal and France did not have a choice. Das­sault had then clar­i­fied that the de­ci­sion to part­ner with Reliance De­fence was its own.

THE op­po­si­tion has ac­cused the govern­ment of ig­nor­ing the state-run de­fence com­pany Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics (HAL) to ben­e­fit Anil Am­bani. Both the govern­ment and the in­dus­tri­al­ist have rub­bished the charge.

Mean­while, de­fence min­is­ter Nir­mala Sitharaman will be­gin a three-day visit to France on Thurs­day. Her visit comes in the back­drop of a huge con­tro­versy over the pro­cure­ment of 36 Rafale jets from Das­sault Avi­a­tion.

Sitharaman will also take stock of progress in the sup­ply of 36 Rafale jets by Das­sault to the In­dian Air Force. There was in­di­ca­tion that she may even visit the fa­cil­ity where the jets are be­ing man­u­fac­tured.

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