No pressure to select offset partners in Rafale deal, says French ambassador

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A day after the CAG report on India-France Rafale fighter jet deal was tabled in Parliament, French ambassador to India has stated that there was no pressure on his country for selecting any particular country as offset partner for Dassault Aviation. Although the CAG report declared that the price of Rafale aircraft was indeed 2.86% cheaper under the deal negotiated by the NDA government in comparison with the price negotiated under the UPA deal, but the report steered cleared of the selection of offset partner by Dassault under the deal. French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler Thursday told journalists that there was nothing stronger in his countrys system than an inter-governmental agreement that protects the deal. On the lines of earlier deals with US and Russian governments, India had signed an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) with France in September 2016 for acquiring 36 Rafale fighter jets in flyaway condition for $7.87 billion. The deal was meant to meet the urgent operational requirements of Indian Air Force which has been facing depleting strength of its fighter squadrons. In our system, when a government signs a deal under its name, we are responsible as a government for supply, price and delivery, said Alexandre Ziegler, French ambassador in New Delhi, underscoring the strong commitment that his government attaches to the deal with India. In a stark contradiction to the purported statement attributed to former French President Francois Holland, the French ambassador said: fr has quoted Holland as telling the website that the name of Anil Ambanis Reliance Defence was given to French government by the Government of India. Holland was quoted as telling the website: Congress President Rahul Gandhi had latched on to this news report to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of personally handing over the offset deal to ADAG chief Anil Ambani.

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