India mooted role for Anil Ambani’s firm in Rafale deal’

We didn’t have a choice on offset partner, says Hollande
Former French President Francois Hollande has claimed that the Indian government suggested industrialist Anil Ambani’s company as the offset partner for the €7.87 bn deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets. Mr. Hollande was the French President at the time the deal was agreed to in 2015.
He told a French news outlet,, on Friday that his government didn’t have “a choice” in the selection of Reliance Defence, the company owned by Mr. Ambani. “It is the Indian government who has proposed this service group and it is Dassault that has negotiated with Ambani. We didn’t have a choice, we took the interlocutor that was given to us,” he was quoted as saying.
His comments fly in the face of repeated assertions made at the highest level of the Indian government that it was Dassault Aviation (DA) which selected Reliance Defence as its offset partner. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had stated that “no offset contract has been signed so far” and that an agreement between two companies does not require permission of the government.
“As per the applicable guidelines, DA is free to select the Indian offset Partners and provide their details at the time of seeking offset credits, or one year prior to discharge of offset obligation,” the government had stated.
Responding to Mr. Hollande’s comments, the Defence Ministry tweeted that the statement was being “verified.” “It is reiterated that neither [the] Government of India nor [the] French Government had any say in the commercial decision,” the Ministry said.
Reacting to the revelations, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The PM personally negotiated & changed the #Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt Anil Ambani. The PM has betrayed India. He has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers.”

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