Another revelation on ‘confidential’ Rafale deal

NEW DELHI, OCT 16 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 10/16/2018 10:59:23 AM IST

A French aviation website has claimed to have accessed the internal Dassault document which was quoted earlier by the French publication Mediapart as the secret Dassault internal document, reports India Today.

The news magazine further reveals that Mediapart has published another similar document from Dassault which indicates that the top management of Dassault aviation was explaining to the confederation of French trade unions as to why a joint venture with an Indian company was mandatory “in the context of Make in India” clause.

Yves Pagot-- a Paris-based researcher, former Air Force official and defence writer -- published what he claims to be the same internal Dassault document presented by Dassault Aviation COO Loik Segalen before a French confederation of trade unions named Confédération générale du travail (CGT).

Earlier, the French journal Mediapart cited the alleged internal Dassault document to indicate that the offset partnership with Reliance was obligatory and mandatory for Dassault Aviation to sell Rafale jets to India. However, Mediapart never published the document. While French aviation website Portail-Aviation has published this controversial document, it has also published another document which gives a different twist to this story.

The second document is claimed to be from a presentation made by Dassault before another French trade union -- Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT) -- which is the largest French trade union confederation. The second document talks about Indian government’s “Make in India” being “the inevitable consequence” of the deal “imposed” by India and hence “the Joint Venture with Reliance was created to attain this objective”.

The second document, which is said to be part of Dassault’s presentation before the largest French trade union confederation, mentioned the joint venture with Reliance only in the context of mandatory “Make in India” clause put by Government of India. “Here is the report, with another report from another union. It’s up to you to make your own opinion” Pagot wrote in his post.

While French publication Mediapart didn’t officially respond to this report, Mediapart’s journalist Antton Rouget who filed the two-part investigative story on the Rafale deal told India Today, “It confirms precisely what we wrote, and contradicts Dassault’s press release”.

However, Rouget didn’t respond to the second document published by Pagot which contradicts Mediapart’s story.

So far, both Dassault Aviation and the Indian government have maintained that Reliance was the choice of the French firm and Indian government had no role in deciding the offset partners.

Opposition leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, have alleged that the Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi was instrumental in helping Anil Ambani’s Reliance throughout this deal.

While opposition leaders have often relied upon the reports published by French publication Mediapart to attack the government on this issue, this latest report contradicts the opposition narrative and also raises some questions over recent Mediapart stories on Rafale.

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