Montreal [Canada], Sept 22 : Former French president Francois Hollande said that France did not choose to partner with Indian businessman Anil Ambani’s company in “any way” and added that only Dassault can comment on the Rafale fighter jet deal.
Asked whether India had put pressure on Reliance and Dassault to work together, Hollande said he was unaware and “only Dassault can comment on this”, French news agency AFP reported.
Hollande was responding to a question by the French news agency on the sidelines of an event in Canada on Friday.
“That is why, moreover, this group (Reliance) did not have to give me any thanks for anything,” the former French president added.
In an interview to a media house that appeared on Friday, Hollande had said that Dassault Aviation was given no choice but to partner with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence for the offset clause in the Rafale deal.
In an article published by French journal Mediapart, Hollande to a question about who selected Reliance as a partner and why, said it was the Indian government that proposed Reliance’s name and Dassault had no choice but to take the company given to it.
“We did not have a say in that. The Indian government proposed this service group, and Dassault negotiated with Ambani. We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor we were given,” said Hollande. The interview was published in French and excerpts of Hollande’s interview were tweeted by French newspaper LeMonde’s journalist Julien Boissou.
His reported statement contradicts Indian government’s claim that the agreement between Dassault and Reliance was a commercial pact between two private parties and the government had nothing to do with it.