New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday termed the opposition’s allegations on Rafale deal as baseless and said that there’s no point in raising controversies. Trying to dispel the controversy surrounding the India-France Rafale jet deal, Singh said that it makes no sense to create a controversy over the issue. Also Read - COVID-19: Rajnath Holds Review Meet, Decides to Provide Temporary Shelters to Migrant Workers
“It makes no sense to create a controversy over the Rafale issue. On the said utterance of former President of France, the Defence Ministry has already issued a statement and has stated that they are verifying it. It is my understanding that all accusations are completely baseless, were always so and will remain baseless,” he said. Also Read - Janata Curfew: Host of Ministers, Political Leaders Clap Hands, Express Gratitude to Medical Workers
Rajnath Singh’s reaction to the Rafale deal controversy has come nearly 24 hours after former French president François Hollande contradicted Indian government’s claim that the agreement between Dassault and Reliance was a commercial pact and said that Dassault Aviation had no choice but to ally with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Industries as the Indian government itself had proposed it. Also Read - Rajnath Singh Speaks to US Defence Secretary; Discusses Coronavirus, Bilateral Defence Cooperation
“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,” Hollande said in an interview.
Responding to Hollande’s revelation, the Defence Ministry said, “The report referring to former French President Mr Hollande’s statement that GoI insisted upon a particular firm as offset partner for the Dassault Aviation in Rafale is being verified. It is reiterated that neither GoI nor French Govt had any say in the commercial decision.”
To Hollande’s statements on “India government had suggested Reliance as a partner in the Rafale deal”, the Defence Ministry reiterated that the agreement between Dassault and Reliance was a commercial pact between and no government was involved in it.
Earlier in the day, the French government and Dassault Aviation (the makers of the Rafale jets) denied their involvement in the choice of Indian industrial partners in the multi-million dollar jet contract.
“The French government is in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners who have been, are being, or will be selected by French companies. In accordance with India’s acquisition procedure, French companies have the full freedom to choose the Indian partner companies that they consider to be the most relevant, then present for the Indian government’s approval the offsets projects that they wish to execute in India with these local partners so as to fulfill their obligations in this regard,” a statement from French Defence Ministry said.