Hours after former France President Francois Hollande claimed that his government 'had to choose' Anil Ambani's Reliance for the Rafale deal, the Indian government has issued a response to his statements, making it clear that 'neither Government of India nor the French Government had any say in the commercial decision'.
The Ministry of Defence has responded to the reports in French media over former President Hollande’s statement that Anil Ambani’s company Reliance Defence was chosen as the offset partner for Dassault Aviation at the insistence of Government of India, and they had no role in choosing the company.
Their message on Twitter read, "The report referring to fmr French president Mr. Hollande's statement that GOI insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified. It is reiterated that neither GoI nor French Govt had any say in the commercial decision."
Meanwhile, government sources told Republic TV that 'French government can’t have a choice, just like Indian government can’t'. They further added that, "It’s a private party negotiation. Indian government proposed no one, they are just twisting words."
On Friday afternoon, Hollande, speaking to a French magazine, stated that the Indian government had chosen Anil Ambani's Reliance as the interlocutor for the deal, and that French government had no say in this matter.
"We (French government) did not have a say in this. The Indian government proposed this (Anil Ambani's Reliance) group, and Dassault [the company that manufactured the jets] negotiated with Ambani. We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us," said the former France President.
On Thursday, the Indian Air Force successfully conducted the inaugural testing of the first Rafale plane manufactured for India. IAF Deputy Chief Air Marshal Nambiar, who was among the first test pilots of the LCA Tejas program, was tasked with the responsibility to take forward the maiden test.
According to the sources, the sortie by Nambiar lasted for an hour. He completed the testing while sitting in the front cockpit. Two images were shared on this landmark event as a new dawn beckoned the Air Force of the country.