Francois Hollande, Former French Presidenthas claimed that his government “did not have a say” in choosing Anil Ambani’s company for the Rafale deal with India.
He further said in an interview to the publication, 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.
Last month, a media report had claimed 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 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 carry out 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”.
The Opposition has accused the Narendra Modi-led government of granting the contract to Ambani’s firm, instead of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which was to make the aircraft in India before the BJP government entered a new deal with France. The Centre has claimed that it had no role in the deal between Dassault Aviation and Reliance, a point that Ambani has also made.
In the article by Mediapart, Hollande also told about the deal, saying that he negotiatied with two different Indian prime ministers regarding Rafale, referring to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Modi. He pointed out that the initial plan was for India to buy 126 jets, but once the government changed, the deal moved to 36 aircraft. “But the manufacturing would happen in France, unlike in the older deal, so we lost one thing, and gained another.”