Skip to main content

Excerpt from 'Mediapart' article that quotes ex-French president François Hollande on "dubious" Rafale deal

Feb 2017: François Hollande with Anil Ambani 
Counterview Desk
Following the revelation in a French journal “Mediapart” that it is Government of India which chose Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence and France had no choice, there is a furore across India on how Prime Minister Narendra Modi “paid back” to an industrial close to him for supporting him. The French journal quotes former French president François Hollande to say the Indian government had proposed Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the offset partner in the Rafale deal and "we did not have a say in this."

Reproduced below are relevant excerpts from a free translation of the article, "En Inde, François Hollande s’invite dans l’affaire des avions Rafale" (François Hollande, his partner’s film, and the French fighter jet sale to India) published in “Mediapart” (click HERE to read full free translation of the article):
...The sale of the Rafale has become a state affair in New Delhi. Suspecting a "huge scam", including the price of aircraft and the role of the Reliance group, opposition parliamentarians seized Thursday the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the Indian Court of Accounts, a request for investigation into this market for "mismanagement of public funds, endangering national security, favoritism and violation of the legal provisions of the markets by Dassault Aviation".
At the heart of the memorandum filed with the CAG, the French firm is questioned for the "compensation" agreement signed with Anil Ambani, which requires Dassault to reinvest locally 50% of the amount of the sale. The French armament group, led by Eric Trappier, told “Mediapart” that he would make "no comment".
The opposition also accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi of favoritism for "ensuring" that the compensation contract is vested in Ambani's company, which has never hidden its support for the head of government.
Reliance Defense Limited is also, they note, "a private company with no experience in the manufacture of fighter jets", which is also recorded "twelve days" before the announcement, on March 28, 2015, of the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft by Narendra Modi during a visit to Paris.
Joined by “Mediapart”, François Hollande certifies that he was "not at all informed" of this partnership and that he "knew nothing" about the Ambani company. The presidential trip is indeed devoted to other issues, since it is to conclude the sale of the Rafale – a possible third market for the aircraft manufacturer, after Egypt and Qatar. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, as of January 25, he has "found an intergovernmental agreement" with Francois Hollande on the purchase of aircraft.
"I intervened in this case with two prime ministers, to say that I was sensitive to this negotiation”, says Francois Hollande to “Mediapart”. “Initially, the market was to be 126 aircraft, and then when the change of government, the Indians reformulated their proposal, less attractive for us, since it was only 36 aircraft. But the manufacture was planned in France, contrary to the previous proposal, so we lost on one side, but we won on the other."
A Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited facility, inaugurated in Oct 2017
But the new device also provides for this "compensation" contract, now criticized, between Dassault Aviation and its partner ... Reliance. How and by whom was this selected?
"We did not have a say in this," continues François Hollande. “The Indian government proposed this service group, and Dassault negotiated with Ambani. We did not have a choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us. That's why, on the other hand, this group did not have to give me any thanks for anything. I could not even imagine that there was any connection to a film by Julie Gayet."
This version contradicts that of the Indian authorities, who maintain that Dassault alone selected Reliance. "The Ministry of Defense played no role in the selection of Indian partners by the seller," responded Anil Ambani in a press release issued in August...
...Given the extent of the questions posed by opposition parliamentarians at Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Dassault-Ambani affair is just beginning. One of the main grievances of elected officials is the cancellation of the initial tender by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came to power in May 2014. The previous government put on track the purchase of 126 aircraft, and a "working agreement" between Dassault Aviation and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) public armaments group stipulated that 70 out of 108 aircraft would be manufactured in India. However, on April 10, 2015, Narendra Modi announced during a visit to François Hollande in Paris, the purchase of 36 aircraft, built in France, for 7.5 billion euros. According to the opposition, Modi could not simply cancel the current call for tenders. Neither to make this announcement without offering Dassault's competitors a new bid submission. In addition, the new agreement increases the unit price of aircraft by 300% and is catastrophic for the HAL Group's order book.
Dassault  CEO Éric Trappier at the Paris Air Show, 2015
The defense branch of Reliance, the group of Anil Ambani, is already in the loop. It was registered 12 days before the announcement of Modi. Another subsidiary, Reliance Aerostructure Ltd, is incorporated 14 days later. Anil Ambani is a staunch supporter of the Prime Minister. As “Le Monde” pointed out on his birthday in 2016, he called Modi "leader of the leaders" and "king of kings". In September 2016, the Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, validates the details of the intergovernmental agreement with his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar.
President François Hollande also receives Anil Ambani during his visit to Paris in February 2017, following a "meeting with the Ministry of Defense" . After the election of Emmanuel Macron, it is the Minister of Defense Florence Parly who recovers the file. She traveled to India in October 2017 to open one of the facilities of the Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) joint venture, Ambani Aerospace Park, in Mihan, Nagpur. The duo announces the investment of 100 million euros in the manufacture of components for the Rafale.
A drop of water compared to the contract. "There is a serious industrial risk for Dassault, because we are dealing with a company that has never built a plane and never touched the defense ," said a French defense analyst. “The offsets provided represent huge sums of money, and there is the question of the ability of local industry to absorb technology transfers."
This specialist specifies that the Indian Rafale will have nuclear missions, that it is expected that they carry SCALP missiles (manufactured by MDBA), are equipped for high-speed attacks in the enemy device (Deep Strike)...
---
Click HERE to read unabridged free English translation of the French article published in “Mediapart”

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen