The scandal around the French-Indian deal on fighter Rafale

Indian newspaperThe indian expresspublish an article under the heading“Rafale talks were onwhich deals with an alleged conflict of interest related to former French President Francois Hollande, his official partner actress Julie Gayet and an agreement with India to deliver 36 Rafale fighters.
Scandal over French-Indian deal on fighters Rafale Reliance, Dassault, Rafale, company, India, aircraft, France, Entertainment, Ambani, fighters, Defense, party, more, Hollande, defense, supply, Francois, rupees, contract, government

Actress Julie Gaye and former French President Francois Hollande (c) Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes
In January 2016, two days before the former French President Francois Hollande arrived in New Delhi as the main guest for the Republic Day celebration and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on the delivery of 36 Dassault fighters Rafale, Reliance Entertainment, an Indian media company, has entered into a joint film production agreement with Rouge International, owned by Hollande’s official partner actress Julie Gaye.
Later in the same year, Reliance Defense — part of a conglomerate with Reliance Entertainment and owned by Indian entrepreneur Anil Ambani — became part of an offset program under a contract worth 59 thousand crores of rupees (about 8.2 billion dollars) for Rafale fighters through the company Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL), in which it owns 51 percent of the shares. The remaining 49 percent of DRAL is owned by the French manufacturer of these aircraft Dassault Aviation.
The film, produced by Reliance Entertainment, was filmed by a French actor and director Serge Hazanavicius and was released in France on December 20, 2017 under the title “To the Top” (Tout là-haut).
This happened eight weeks after Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier and Anil Ambandy laid the foundation stone for the DRAL plant in Nagpur in the presence of high-ranking officials from both countries.
The agreement on the supply of 36 Rafale fighter jets was announced, agreed by the governments of the two countries and signed during the presidency of Hollande, when Madame Gaye lived with him in the Elysee Palace. Hollande was in the presidency from May 2012 to May 2017, and relations with Julie Gayet became known to the general public in January 2017.
The first announcement of Dassault and Reliance to create a joint venture in India as a “key player” in fulfilling offset obligations was made in October 2016, again during the presidency of Hollande. Ten days before that, on September 23, 2016, an agreement on Rafale fighters was signed by the Ministers of Defense of India and France.
The Indian Express contacted Rouge International by telephone, but was advised by journalists to send their request via email. Sent letters remained unanswered. At subsequent inquiries, the company stated that it was not necessary to wait for an answer to questions.
Reliance Entertainment was contacted by SMS, phone and email. Nevertheless, questions from The Indian Express regarding the film and the company's investment in European film projects remain unanswered.
In accordance with the provisions on offset, France must invest 50 percent of the total value of the basic contract, or 30 thousand crores of rupees (about 4.1 billion dollars) in local contracts in India. Offset commitments must be met between September 2019 and September 2023.
The Rafale project has pulled Reliance Defense into the epicenter of political scandals. Opposition parties, including the Indian National Congress,argued that unreasonable assistance was provided to Ambani, which has no experience in defense production, in this transaction.
According to the results of the agreement, the state Hindustan Aeronautics Limited remained out of business. According to an earlier version of the treaty (it was curtailed by the government of the Bharatiya Janata Party), HAL was supposed to produce 126 aircraft.
The Indian Ministry of Defense said that "the French side has not yet chosen the Indian partner in the 2016 deal on 36 Rafale aircraft." At the same time, Reliance Defense denied claims that Dassault transferred to the company offset contracts worth 30 thousand crores of rupees and called these statements "absolutely unfounded." Dassault and their main suppliers have already made it clear that more than 100 Indian companies will participate in offset contracts, including public sector companies such as HAL and Bharat Electronics Limited.
Earlier this month, Ambani wrote a letter to the party's president, Rahul Gandhi, that no parts would be manufactured by Reliance Defense for these 36 aircraft. Thus, the claims that the company "does not have the necessary experience" ultimately have no meaning.
Ambani was present in Paris on April 10, 2015, when Narendra Modi first announced, together with President Hollande, that India would buy 36 Rafale aircraft.
"As soon as doubts arise regarding the 2016 contract for 36 fighters, it is once again confirmed that the deal concluded by the government is the best in terms of capabilities, price, equipment, delivery, maintenance, training, etc. ., than a preliminary deal, the negotiation process by which the previous government could not complete for more than ten years. Moreover, the current government completed these negotiations in about a year, ”the Ministry of Defense said in a statement this February.

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