A French media publication has claimed few days back that “It was imperative and mandatory for Dassault Aviation to accept Reliance as the counterpart in order to get the contract.” The report states that Dassault’s deal with Reliance was an essential and ‘imperative’ part of the Rafale deal implying that if Dassault had refused to make Reliance an offset partner, the deal could not have gone through. The report by Mediapart is based on a presentation made by Deputy CEO Loïk Segalen of Dassault Aviation to staff representatives of Dassault Reliance Aerospace joint venture in Nagpur in May 2017.
Mediapart claimed to have access to original documents but it did not put any documents in the public sphere. A French web portal named Portail-Aviation published an article attached with original documents. The author of the article, Yves Pagot is a former Air Force employee and lecturer at Paris Tech. According to the original document (translation), “A complete presentation of Make in India was made to us upon the creation of Dassault Reliance Aerospace in Nagpur.” In the presentation, Deputy CEO Loïk Segalen said “it is imperative and mandatory for Dassault to have such an entity if we want the contract for Rafale from India.” Therefore, it was mandatory for Dassault to have an Indian partner to get the deal not necessarily Reliance Defense. The offset contracts which comprise investment of 50 percent of total value of the deal with domestic partners is part of the deal and thus having Indian partner is necessary.
Mediapart arm twisted ‘necessary Indian partner’ to necessarily ‘Reliance Defense’ to sensationalize the story and did not release original documents because it would have shed light on reality. Mediapart is an online investigative and ‘opinion’ journal founded by Edwy Plenel, former editor in chief of Le Monde. What Mediapart has done is against journalistic ethics and this is a part of yellow journalism. Until and unless a media organization gets the original documents of the deal and cross verify it, they should not publish such sensational stories and if they have original documents, it must be attached.
The false story by Mediapart on Rafale will certainly diminish its credibility. The website started by a left leaning editor for pro-people journalism is now reduced to a fake news website against people and organizations on the opposite side of the political spectrum. As the original document became available in public sphere, the reality is in front of the people. It became clear that Dassault’s deal with Reliance was a company to company agreement with no involvement from Indian Defense ministry. The document also cleared that Dassault aviation was free to chose domestic defense partner and there was no compulsion to choose Reliance to get the deal.
Furthermore, Reliance Defense has bagged only 10 percent of the Rafale deal and Dassault has partnered with 30 companies and had talks with more than 70 companies to comply with offset obligation. “In full compliance with this regulation, Dassault Aviation therefore decided to set up the DRAL joint venture with Anil Ambani’s company and build a plant in Nagpur, which should enable us to meet about 10% of these offset obligations. We are in negotiations with about a hundred Indian companies and partnerships have already been concluded with about thirty of them,” said Trappier to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Rahul Gandhi had recently accused PM for awarding 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani. Now as the reality of the matter is out, Rahul Gandhi must apologize to PM for defaming him and to people of the country for misleading them on false report by a foreign media organization.