by Daamini Sharma

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has left no stone upturned to take on Modi-government over the Rafale deal. And now the opposition leader has even garnered the support of Pakistan who has been openly bating for Gandhi as the next Prime Minister of India. From raking up the corruption issue to citing former French President Francois Hollande's statement, Gandhi is going all out to attack the ruling party. Even as the Congress president continues with his all-out attack, here are five facts about the Rafale deal you didn’t know:

1. The Deal Is Not With Just One Company:

Even as Rahul Gandhi has been claiming that Reliance was chosen as the offset partner of Dassault Aviation over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as PM Modi wanted to favor Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group, the fact of the matter is that Rafale deal was not signed with just one company. Dassault Aviation has a partnership not just with the Reliance group but other companies including:


2. Dassault Aviation Ruled Out HAL Under UPA Regime:

In 2012, Reliance Industries tied up with Dassault aviation to supply 126 fighter jets to India. The announcement of the tie-up came less than two weeks after Dassault’s Rafale fighter jets emerged as the lowest bidder to supply the fighter jets. It is to be noted that the entire deal was cracked at a time when UPA government was in power. 

3. Rafale 2013 Annual Report Claims A Push For HAL: 

In 2013 when UPA was in power, the Annual Report of Rafale claimed that the Rafale negotiations with India were taking a “ long time” because of “ coming to agreements with local companies, and in particular with our main partner, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), on the work to be done in India”.

4. The Hollande Angle And His U-turn:

Former French President Francois 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," he said.

Ever since Hollande gave out this statement, Rahul Gandhi has been using hashtags terming the Prime Minister as a Thief. However, the fact is Hollande has not mentioned the name of Prime Minister Modi anywhere.

Earlier on September 22, blunting the opposition's claim on Rafale, Former French President Francois Hollande issued a clear denial and said he was 'unaware' on India putting pressure for taking Reliance on board for the deal. When asked by French news agency AFP whether India had put pressure on Reliance and Dassault to work together, Hollande said he was “unaware” and “only Dassault can comment on this.”

5. French Government, Dassault's Crisp Clarification:

Immediately after former France President Francois Hollande said that the Indian government had chosen Anil Ambani's Reliance as the interlocutor for Rafale, the French Government and aeronautics company Dassault Aviation has given out a statement that contradicts the claims. 

French Government's statement:

The intergovernmental agreement signed on September 23, 2016, between the French government and Indian Govt for the supply to India of 36 aircraft burst covers only obligations of the French government to ensure the delivery and quality of this equipment. 

The French government is in no way involved in the choice of industrial partners in India who have been, are or will be selected by French industrialists. In accordance with the procedure of acquiring Indian, French industrialists have complete freedom to choose the Indian industrial partners that they consider the most relevant and present for approval to the Indian Government offsets projects they want to achieve in India with these local partners in order to fulfil their obligations in this regard. 

In this case, agreements have already been signed by French industrialists with very many Indian, public and private, companies under Indian law.