Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier has exposed the lies of Rahul Gandhi on Rafale aircraft offset deals with Reliance Defense. “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), an international media organization. The statement comes after Rahul Gandhi accused PM for awarding 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani. “The PM of India is a corrupt person. He awarded Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani. There is a clear-cut case against the PM,” said Rahul in a press conference.
The statement by Rahul Gandhi is blatant lie and falls short on facts. The government has made a deal worth 60,000 crore for 36 fighter aircrafts. The defense procurement policy of India puts an obligation of 50 percent offset on defense purchase. Therefore Dassault Avaition, the company which produces Rafale aircrafts had to make investment worth 30,000 crore in India. Now only 10 percent of was awarded to Reliance Defense which amounts to 3,000 crore. However, Rahul Gandhi has taken the liberty of exaggerating worth of the offset deal to 30,000 crore which is 10 times higher than actual deal.
Rahul Gandhi’s ignorance of facts and blatant lies does not stop here. If Rahul Gandhi and opposition have done little homework they would have known that Reliance Defense deal is with Thales group which is one of the four companies (Dassault, Safran, Thales and MBDA) that are part of Rafale project. French state (27.0%) and Dassault Aviation (25.9%) are major shareholders in Thales group. The four companies involved in the Rafale project had split offset obligation with Dassault responsible for 15,000 crore Thales for 6,500 crore, Safran for 5,500 crore and MBDA for 3,000 crore. If the offset obligations of Thales is limited to 6,500 crores then how could they award deal worth 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani led Reliance Defense.
Reliance Defense is not the only company involved in offset contacts with Dassault Aviation. “We’re in talks with about 100 Indian firms, including around 30 with which we’ve already confirmed partnerships,” Trappier told AFP. On the question of choosing Reliance over HAL, trappier said “Dassault Aviation decided to establish a long-term presence in India through DRAL, a joint enterprise in which governance is provided by an Indian Chief Executive Officer and a French Chief Operating Officer. Dassault Aviation therefore exercises technical and industrial control over the operations, applying its standards and its flexibility. This JV will produce parts for the Falcon 2000 and Rafale. The choice of the Nagpur site, in central India, was dictated by the availability of land with direct access to an airport runway.”
These details came a day after French investigative publication, Mediapart reported that it was ‘imperative and mandatory’ for Dassault to make a deal with Reliance to get the contract for Rafale. Dassault aviation issued a press release in which it clearly stated that choosing offset partner was Dassault’s call with no involvement of government or defense ministry. The companies chosen for offset contracts include BTSL, DEFSYS, Kinetic, Mahindra, Maini, SAMTEL,… and talks are going on with more than 70 companies for offset contracts. The blatant lies and ignorance of Rahul Gandhi is the major problem with Rafale deal not crony capitalism or corruption. With all his degrees from Harvard and Cambridge, Rahul Gandhi displayed a mesmerizing level of ignorance claiming that 30,000 crore offset was awarded to Reliance defense despite being aware of that the whole offset is worth 30,000 crore and there are many more companies except Reliance is involved in this. If Rahul Gandhi wants to succeed in politics, he should get his math right first.