No choice given, India suggested Reliance for Rafale deal: Hollande

The former French leader denied any conflict of interest with Reliance Group

The former French leader denied any conflict of interest with Reliance Group

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had "betrayed" India.

French President Francois Hollande (L) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, January 25, 2016. What is staggering is that the prime minister is still silent on it. "It establishes that our prime minister took his friend to France to finalise this deal", he told ANI.

Former French President Francois Hollande has reportedly claimed that the Indian government had proposed the name of Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence for the Rafale deal with the French government.

Spokesperson of France's Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs said that the French government had no role to play in choosing partner companies in India for the objective of offsets contracts in the Rafale deal.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram wondered as to what "new lie" the Modi government would come up with in response to the former French president's claim.

While all 36 Rafale fighters are being manufactured in France, an offset requirement, which is a part of an all-Indian defence procurement worth more than Rs 2 trillion, requires French companies that build the Rafale - Dassault, Thales and Safran - to plough back 50 per cent of the contract value into Indian defence production.

"As per the guidelines, the vendor is to provide the details of the offset partners either at the time of seeking offset credit or one year prior to discharge of offset obligation, which in this case will be due from 2020", the ministry said.

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"It is reiterated that neither GoI nor French Govt had any say in the commercial decision". Escalation of a mere 1100 crores.

Hours after Hollande claimed that the Indian government suggested a particular private firm for Rafale offset contract, the French government issued a statement late Friday.

In a sharp attack on Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused her of "lying" about the Rafale deal and demanded her resignation.

"It was the Indian government that proposed this service group (Reliance), and Dassault (the French manufacturer) who negotiated with" them, Hollande said. The Prime Minister must clear his stand on the Rafale deal after Hollande's remarks, Rahul said during a press conference today.

FILE PHOTO: Supporters of India's main opposition Congress Party shout slogans during a protest demanding from government to disclose the details of Rafale fighter planes deal, in Mumbai, India, July 30, 2018.

The opposition parties have been accusing the NDA government of favouring the RDL over state-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Dassault said the first contract was a government-to-government contract, and that the company then picked Reliance for their partner in a separate offset contract.

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