A French aviation blog has published two documents related to discussions between the two trade unions and top officials of Dassault Aviation, the aircraft manufacturer that has been contracted to supply the Rafale fighter jets to India. India and France signed a deal in 2016 for the delivery of 36 Rafale aircraft to the Indian Air Force.
The blog Portail Aviation has published the minutes of a meeting held on May 11, 2017, during which Dassault Aviation Chief Operating Officer Loik Segalenn purportedly told the company’s two trade unions that it was imperative for the firm to sign an agreement with businessman Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, to get the contract for the jets.
“...a complete presentation of ‘Make in India’ with the creation of the enterprise ‘Dassault Reliance Aerospace’ at Nagpur was done for us,” the minutes recorded by the CGT trade union say, according to NDTV. “According to Mr Segalenn, it was imperative and obligatory for Dassault Aviation to accept this trade-off in order to obtain the export contract Rafale India.”
The second union, CGFT, say that Make in India was the “inevitable consequence” of the deal “imposed by India on France”, and adds that a joint venture – Dassault Reliance Aerospace – was created to make the agreement possible.
The Congress has repeatedly accused the Centre of taking away the deal from public sector entity Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which was to make the aircraft in India initially. Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s allegations were bolstered when former French President Francois Hollande claimed last month that the Indian government had proposed Reliance Defence’s name for the contract.
Last week, a document accessed by French investigative website Mediapart showed that Dassault Aviation entered into an agreement with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as it was presented as a “trade off” to obtain the contract of Rafale sales. The Indian government has denied allegations of corruption.