Modi Government Reacts On Reports of Hollande’s Interview; Denies Role In Choosing Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence As Offset Partner

Modi Government says neither Indian Government nor French Government has any say in commercial decision of choosing Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as offset partner. Congress President, Rahul Gandhi thanked ex President Hollande on the disclosure upping the ante on Rafale deal following Hollande’s reported interview. 

Former French President Hollande's sensational claim on Rafale deal
Former French President Hollande’s sensational claim on Rafale deal

Shailesh Kumar, National Defence,
New Delhi, 21 September 2018

Following reports of former French President, Nicolas Hollande, claiming Indian Government had proposed the name of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, Modi Government denies role in choosing Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as offset partner in the controversial Rafale deal.

French publication MediaPart reported on Friday quoting Former French President François Hollande that his government “did not have a say” in choosing Anil Ambani’s company Reliance Defence for the Rafale deal with India. In an interview to the MediaPart, Hollande said that it was the Indian government that had proposed the name of Ambani’s Reliance Defence for the pact, which was agreed upon when he was president.


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Ministry of Defence spokesperson promptly tweeted a statement, “The report referring to  fmr French president Mr. Hollande’s statement that GOI insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified”.

“It is reiterated that neither GoI nor French Govt had any say in the commercial decision”.


Congress president Rahul Gandhi also took note of the development and promptly tweeted, “The PM personally negotiated & changed the 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”.

It was Advocate and Political activist Prashant Bhushan’s tweet to which Indian media got alerted about President Hollande’s interview absolving his Government with Anil Ambani’s entertainment company.

“This is explosive! Former French President Hollande, with whom Modi signed the new deal for 36 Rafale planes, says that the French & Dassault had no say in selecting Ambani as the partner (commission agent?) For the deal! Was recommended by Modi. Is this also secret Modiji?”


 

Predident Hollande also reportedly denied any connection of the Rafale deal with a film by his partner Julie Gayet. A media report had claimed last month that Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment had signed an agreement with Gayet to produce a film two days before Hollande attended Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi in 2016. During that visit, Hollande signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deliver 36 Rafale aircraft to India.

The Indian government has claimed all along that it did not have anything to do with French company Dassault’s decision to work with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence to execute the offset obligations in the Rafale deal. The Opposition, led by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, has however claimed that an earlier deal which envisioned Dassault working with Indian state manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was scrapped to “benefit Modi’s industrialist friend”.

Hollande told Mediapart:

“Nous n’avions pas notre mot à dire à ce sujet. C’est le gouvernement indien qui a proposé ce groupe de service, et Dassault qui a négocié avec Ambani. Nous n’avons pas eu le choix, nous avons pris l’interlocuteur qui nous a été donné. C’est pourquoi, par ailleurs, ce groupe n’avait pas à me faire quelque grâce de quoi que ce soit. Je ne pouvais même pas imaginer qu’il y avait un quelconque lien avec un film de Julie Gayet.”

[Google translation below]

“We did not have a say in that. The Indian government proposed this service group, and Dassault negotiated with Ambani. We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us. That’s why, on the other hand, this group did not have to give me any thanks for anything. I could not even imagine that there was any connection to a film by Julie Gayet. “

Rafale deal is turning controversial day by day and Congress President Rahul Gandhi is not leaving any stone unturned to further rake it up. Yesterday, soon after the interview of former HAL CMD T. Suvarna Raju’s interview (watch here), he demanded resignation of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 


 

Amid the controversy, it is not to forget that Indian Air Force desperately needs new fighter jet squadrons, which has come down from sanctioned strength of 45 to 31 fighter squadrons.

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