No role in selecting Indian partners for Rafale: France

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The French government Friday said it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the Rafale fighter jet deal, asserting that French companies have the full freedom to select Indian firms for the contract.

Spokesperson of France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs said that the French government had no role to play in choosing partner companies in India for the purpose of offsets contracts in the Rafale deal.

“The French government is in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners who have been, are being, or will be selected by French companies.

According to Indian Counterpart

In accordance with India’s acquisition procedure, French companies have the full freedom to choose the Indian partner companies that they consider to be the most relevant. Then present for the Indian government’s approval the offsets projects that they wish to execute in India with these local partners so as to fulfil their obligations in this regard,” the statement said.

The report in ‘Mediapart’, a French language publication, quoted Hollande as saying, “It was the Indian government that proposed this service group, and Dassault which negotiated with Ambani. We had no choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us.”

The spokesperson also confirmed that the intergovernmental agreement signed in September 2016 between the French and Indian governments for supplying 36 Rafale aircraft to India concerned the obligations of the French government solely with regards to ensuring the delivery and quality of this equipment.

Earlier, former French president François Hollande in an interview to a media house said that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offsets clause in the Rafale fighter jet deal.

However, Dassault Aviation, in a statement, said that Reliance Group was chosen by the company itself in compliance with the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 regulations and the Indian government’s Make in India policy.

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