French portal Mediapart reported late on Wednesday (10 October) that Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Dassault Aviation Loïk Segalen had said in May 2017 that the firm’s joint venture with Anil Ambani’s Reliance was a “condition”, “imperative and obligatory” to get the deal for 36 Rafale aircraft from India.
According to the portal, the official had made the statement during a presentation on the joint venture between Dassault and Reliance Aerospace.
However, it has now emerged that the official may have been talking about the mandatory nature of the offsets and not about the deal with Reliance.
Experts have said that the French portal, whose report was extensively quoted by some Indian media outlets, misquoted the Dassault official. By some accounts, the official was informing the Workers’ Association representatives that the company has to fulfil its offset obligations under the Rafale deal and would have to move some part of the manufacturing set up of its Falcon Jets to India.
The OFFSET was mandatory & the package negotiated by Dassault was presented as fait accompli that would not yield further job benefits for French labour as unions would have hoped. That's it. No proof here, nothing new here save misquoting. Move On https://t.co/KY8gFOWqQD— Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (@Iyervval) October 11, 2018
According to Dassault, he was informing the “Central Works Council of the creation of the joint venture" with Reliance “in compliance with French regulations”.
Under the offset policy, put in place by the Congress-led UPA government, foreign equipment manufacturers are required to invest a part of the contract value in India. As part of the Rafale deal, Dassault has agreed to execute offsets in India worth 50 per cent of the value of the purchase.
It is under the offset clause that Dassault has chosen Reliance, along with multiple other private and state-owned firms, to be its partners in India.
Earlier, the Congress had accused the government of favouring Anil Ambani’s Reliance over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and alleged that the government had compromised with national security and the needs of the armed forces. It said that the government had pushed Dassault and the French government to select Reliance as a partner in India to provide benefit to Ambani.