Modi gov't has no role in selecting India's offset partner in Rafale deal: Defence Ministry

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-22 21:07:48|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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NEW DELHI, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- India's defence ministry on Saturday said that the Modi government had no role in selecting India's offset partner for manufacturing Rafale fighter jets, and that unnecessary controversies were being created around the Rafale deal.

Earlier in the day, the Indian National Congress (INC) president Rahul Gandhi had alleged that the Modi government had ensured that the Rafale deal was signed with private firm "Reliance Defence" owned by Anil Ambani.

Gandhi went on to say that Modi was "corrupted", as he ensured the deal was done with "Reliance Defence" at an inflated price. He also quoted former French president Francois Holland as saying that the Modi government had only suggested "Reliance Defence" as India's offset partner to manufacture the jets in the country.

"Unnecessary controversies are being sought to be created following media reports regarding a statement purportedly made by former French president Francois Hollande concerning the selection of Reliance Defence as the offset partner by Dassault, the manufacturers of Rafale aircraft," said an official statement issued by the defence ministry.

It added that the government has stated earlier and again reiterated that it had "no role" in the selection of "Reliance Defence" as the offset partner.

As per the Indian government's "offset policy", the manufacturer is required to make a certain investment in India to ensure that the Indian defence production industry gets a boost which also results in employment generation.

According to the statement, "Dassault Aviation" has issued a press release stating that it has signed a partnership agreement with several companies and is negotiating with hundred-odd other companies.

As per the guidelines, the vendor is to provide the details of the offset partners either at the time of seeking offset credit or one year prior to discharge of offset obligation, which in this case will be due from 2020.

In view of above, the defence ministry reiterated that the Indian government has no role in the selection of Indian offset partner which is a commercial decision of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer).

The defence ministry's statement also stated that a joint venture between Reliance Defence and Dassault Aviation that came into being in February 2017, is a purely commercial arrangement between two private companies.