The French government Friday said it was in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the Rafale fighter jet deal, asserting that French companies have the full freedom to select Indian firms for the contract.
The statement by the French government came following a French media report which quoted former French President Francois Hollande as saying that the Indian government proposed Reliance Defence as the partner for Dassault Aviation in the Rs 58,000 crore Rafale deal and France did not have a choice.
“The French government is in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners who have been, are being, or will be selected by French companies,” it said.
It further said, “In accordance with India’s acquisition procedure, French companies have the full freedom to choose the Indian partner companies that they consider to be the most relevant, then present for the Indian government’s approval the offsets projects that they wish to execute in India with these local partners so as to fulfil their obligations in this regard.”
The French government said the inter-governmental agreement it signed with India for supplying 36 Rafale aircraft concerns its obligations solely with regard to ensuring the delivery and quality of the aircraft.
“As it happens, agreements have already been signed by French companies with many Indian firms, both public and private, under the framework of Indian laws,” the statement said.
Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, had chosen Reliance Defence as its partner to fulfill offset obligations of the deal. The government has been maintaining that it did not have any role in the selection of the offset partner by Dassault.