Minutes after a French news website sensationally revealed a Dassault document confirming that a trade-off with Anil Ambani was mandatory to secure the Rafale deal, the French aviation company has issued a clarification.
In its clarification, Dassault Aviation said that there was no obligation for it to choose Anil Ambani’s Reliance. It said that Dassault Aviation had ‘freely chosen to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group.’
This was after website mediapart.fr claimed to have accessed an an internal document, which said that deputy chief executive officer Loïk Segalen said during a presentation about their Joint Venture with Reliance on May 2017 to staff: “It is imperative and obligatory for Dassault Aviation to accept this trade-off to obtain the Rafale export contract to India.”
The report by mediapart.fr website said in French, “It was a true false inauguration. A symbolic “first stone” placed on precut turf, under a capital of circumstance, in Nagpur ( central India) , but which announced the beginning of the construction of the “future factory” Dassault-Reliance. According to an internal Dassault document obtained by Mediapart, a senior member of the aviation group had explained to the staff representatives that the joint venture was a “trade-off”, “imperative and mandatory” to win the Rafale market.”
Here’s the full statement by Dassault:
Within the framework of the September 2016 Inter-Government Agreement between France and India, Dassault Aviation has sold 36 Rafale aircraft to India. In compliance with the Indian regulations (Defence Procurement Procedure) and as frequent with such a contract, Dassault Aviation has committed to offsets in India worth 50% of the value of the purchase.
In order to deliver some of these offsets, Dassault Aviation has decided to create a joint-venture. Dassault Aviation has freely chosen to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group. This joint-venture, Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL), was created February 10, 2017.
Other partnerships have been signed with other companies such as BTSL, DEFSYS, Kinetic, Mahindra, Maini, SAMTEL,… Other negotiations are ongoing with a hundred-odd other potential partners.
In compliance with French regulations, Chief Operating Officer Loïk Segalen informed, May 11, 2017, the Central Works Council of the creation of the DRAL joint-venture in order to fulfil some of the offsets commitment.
The cornerstone for the DRAL plant in Nagpur (Maharashtra) was laid October 27, 2017. This plant will manufacture parts for Falcon 2000 business jets and, in a second step, parts for Rafale aircraft.
An initial team of Indian managers have been trained for six months to our manufacturing processes in our plant in Biarritz (France). The first Indian skilled workers have also benefited from an intensive training in our manufacturing techniques in France.
The first Falcon 2000 parts will be delivered by end 2018.