Dassault official claims Reliance Defence was 'imperative and obligatory' for Rafale deal: French media

However, Dassault Aviation stated that the company had freely chosen to make a partnership with the Reliance Group.

Dassault official claims Reliance Defence was 'imperative and obligatory' for Rafale deal: French media

Amid the tussle between the Centre and the Opposition over the Rafale fighter jets deal, an official of Dassault Aviation, the maker of the aircraft, has claimed that the group's acceptance to work with Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence was an “imperative and obligatory” condition for securing the contract, according to a French media report.

In a new company document of Dassault Aviation, accessed by French news website Mediapart, a senior company executive is quoted as saying that it was imperative for the company to agree to the deal for getting the contract to produce 36 Rafale jets for India.

However, Dassault Aviation stated that the company had freely chosen to make a partnership with the Reliance Group.

Dassault said that in compliance with Indian regulations (Defence Procurement Procedure), the group had committed to offsets worth 50 per cent of value of purchase and so Dassault decided to create a joint venture. According to Dassault, on the backdrop of this the group "freely chose to make a partnership with Reliance Group", reported ANI. 

The joint-venture, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL), was created on February 10, 2017.

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to begin a three-day tour to France on Thursday during which both sides are expected to deliberate on further boosting their already close defence and security ties.

Congress has been accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of indulging in crony capitalism in the Rafael deal by favouring Reliance Defence and ignoring Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). Citing the Supreme Court’s move to seek details from the Centre about the decision-making process of the deal, the Gandhi scion said that “processes to justify” Prime Minister Modi’s decision “are yet to be invented”.

The Congress chief further alleged that Sitharaman’s visit to France was also aimed at justifying the Rafale fighter jets deal with the country.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph, asked the government to submit the details of the decision-making process on Rafale deal in a sealed envelope.

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