Causing salt to injury, the Narendra Modi government today faced a big embarrassment with regard to ongoing ongoing Rafale controversy after Former French President Francois Hollande said that it was Indian government that proposed Reliance’s name and Dassault Aviation had no choice but to take the company given to it.
The Modi government had asked the French government to nominate Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Industries as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale jet fighter deal and France did not have a choice, Hollande has been quoted by by French website Mediapart, as saying.
Hollande’s comments contradicts Indian government’s claim of both Modi government and also Anil Ambani, that the agreement between Dassault and Reliance was a commercial pact between two private parties and the government had nothing to do with it.
“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 we were given,” he added. He made this comments in an interview published in French and excerpts of Hollande’s interview were tweeted by French Newspaper LeMonde journalist Julien Boissou.
However, Defence Ministry spokesperson, however, was quick to deny the charge on Twitter. “The report referring to former French president Mr Hollande’s statement that government of India insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified,” the Defence Ministry said in a tweet. “It is reiterated that neither government of India nor French government had any say in the commercial decision,” it said.