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07:48 PM, September 21, 2018
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi alongwith French former President Francois Hollande after the announcement of Rafale deal in Paris in April 2015

The former French President, Francois Hollande has reportedly said in an interview that the neither the French government nor Dassault had any choice but to choose Reliance Defense as the local partner as the name was proposed by the Indian government for the procurement of Rafale fighter jets.

“We did not have a choice. We took the partner that was given to us,” Hollande was quoted as saying by Julien Bouissou, a journalist with French Mediapart news daily Friday. According to Hollande, Anil Ambani (Reliance Defense) was not chosen by Dassault as the local partner, Bouissou tweeted.

To a question, “How and by whom was this selected?” Referring to the selection of a local partner (Reliance Defense), asked during the interview by Mediapart, the former president has reportedly said, “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 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.”

“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,” the Indian defense ministry spokesperson said in a tweet in response to the development.

Hollande’s reported statement contradicts with the Indian government’s stand that the agreement was between the two companies (Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defense) and the government had no say in the decision for the selection of the local partner.

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