A former top defence aide and one of the military advisers to the ex-President of France, Francois Hollande in an exclusive interview with IndiaScoops.com, has concurred and stood by the statements made by the former French Premier on the Rafale deal.
“I was aware and in the know of almost everything concerning the deal and what the ex-President said is absolutely correct and true,” he told IndiaScoops.com.
He also told IndiaScoops.com that there is great pressure from the Government of India (GOI) on the French establishment, the French government and Dassault Aviation to issue press statements favoring the decisions taken at that point in time.
The French government, the former French Premier Francois Hollande and the entire Defence setup of France had absolutely no role to play in the selection of the Indian partner. It was a decision foisted upon us by the GOI, he told IndiaScoops.com.
According to one of Hollande’s former Defence adviser who spoke to IndiaScoops.com, even Dassault Aviation was initially keen on going ahead with the Indian PSU HAL and was looking forward to partnering with HAL for tech-transfer and joint-manufacturing of the state-of-the-art fighter jet.
He supported the IndiaScoops.com story that the decision was mysteriously changed at the last minute by Dassault CEO Eric Trappier (Read Here) and two other officials, in spite of written reservations by the HODs of the entire Dassault tech team, who had an animated discussion on email among themselves, about the pros and cons of working with a new inexperienced company like Reliance Defence Ltd, which lacked the expertise and experience to handle state-of-the-art classified military and aviation tech.
“Ask Dassault to produce the emails and internal assessment of their own teams and the entire matter will become crystal clear,” the former Defence expert told IndiaScoops.com on phone from Paris on condition of anonymity.
Last week former French president Francois Hollande, who negotiated the Rafale deal with PM Narendra Modi, declared that it was the Indian government (GOI) who proposed Reliance — “we had no choice”, he said.
But a day later, he said that it was for Dassault to comment on whether it had been pressured to choose Anil Ambani’s firm as an offset partner — as part of the contract, Dassault has to invest 50 per cent of the overall value of the deal or Rs. 30,000 crore in partnering with defence manufacturers in India.
According to a report in The Wire, the former French President is understood to have told a publication: The new deal also included the offset agreement between Dassault and the Reliance Group, now the subject of controversy. How and by whom was the latter selected? “We didn’t have any say in this matter,” Hollande told Mediapart.
“It is the Indian government which had proposed this service group, and Dassault who negotiated with Anil Ambani. We didn’t have the choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us. That’s why, also, this group had no reason to give me any grace [favour] of any sort.