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Rafale's relationship with Reliance Defence goes back to 2012: Dassault CEO

Dassault Aviation CEO, Éric Trappier spoke exclusively to Manu Pubby of The Economic Times, where he cleared the air regarding various controversial questions ranging from the choice of Reliance as a partner for the joint venture to the deal itself.

Rafale deal controversy relates to the purchase of 36 multi-role fighter aircraft by the Indian Defence Ministry from France’s Dassault Aviation. 

Here's what Éric Trappier said during the interview: 

- Basic premise of Dassault giving Rs 30,000 crore worth of offset contracts to Reliance is totally unfounded and untrue as it was a joint venture with each company contributing its respective shares. He said Dassult is helping Reliance with capital for them to manufacture parts of the aircraft.

- Dassault holds a 49% stake bringing in its 90 years of aerospace manufacturing experience, making it the “most qualified vendor”.

- On Former French President François Hollande's statement that it was compulsory to sign up with Reliance to get the contract for the aircraft Trappier said, Mr Hollande offered a clarification that the two firms chose each other mutually and nobody was coerced into signing the deal.

- He also categorically stated that there was no push from the Indian government to chose Reliance as its partner.

- On the question of pricing, he said that the pricing was in the hands of the French government. He said that the deal is clean and they were open to any kind of investigation if it falls within the ambit of French laws.

In January 2016, India confirmed an order of 36 Rafale jets in a government to government contract. Dassault and its main partners - engine-maker Safran and electronic systems-maker Thales - will share some technology with DRDO and some private sector companies and HAL under the offsets clause.