Rajesh K Dhingra, president, Reliance Defence & Aerospace, defends his company on the Rafale controversy after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s charges of nepotism. In an interaction with Manu Pubby, he details what the Dassault Reliance Aerospace (DRAL) JV will produce, how offsets for the Rafale deal will be rolled out and how focus is on Falcon executive jet and not the fighter aircraft.
Congress says Reliance Defence has benefitted from a Rs 30,000-crore contract from the defence ministry (MoD), related to offsets for 36 Rafale aircraft…
Reliance Defence or any other Reliance company has not received any contract from the MoD till date related to 36 Rafale aircraft. This is absolutely unfounded. It will be good to understand that as per the defence procurement policy, the foreign vendor has a choice to submit the details of its offset partners at the time of claiming offset credits. In this case, offset obligations are due only after September 2019. It is, therefore, possible that MoD has no formal communication from Dassault about choice of its partners for the offsets.
The Opposition alleges that Reliance was selected due to proximity to the government.
As per the procurement policy, the MoD has no role in selection of Indian Partners by the foreign vendors. This has been position right from 2005 when offsets were first introduced. In more than 50 offset contracts signed till date, the same process has been followed. Therefore, it is a deliberate attempt to mislead. Dassault is required to inform the MoD about its offset partners at the time of claiming credits, which I am sure they will do. Exact share of each company involved in the offset contracts will be known only after completion of offset obligations by Dassault, Thales, Safran, MBDA and others.
It is also being pointed out that Reliance has no experience in making fighter aircraft?
We should get our facts right. There are no fighter aircraft to be made as part of this contract as all aircraft are to be delivered as ‘Fly Away’ from France. No company in India, except HAL has the experience of making fighter aircraft. In any case, Reliance will be participating in offset program through DRAL. Dassault hold 49% in the company and brings with this 90 years of Aerospace manufacturing experience, thereby positioning DRAL as most qualified vendor.
What will the JV with Dassault do in India for offsets said to be worth over Rs 30,000 crore?
Dassault share of offsets is approximately 25% with remaining offset obligations being shared by Thales, Safran, MBDA and others. Therefore, the basic premise of Dassault givingRs 30,000 crore of offset contract to Reliance is totally unfounded. Dassault and its suppliers have already indicated more than 100 Indian companies that will participate in offset contracts. DRAL will not produce the Rafale jet in India. It will be making aero structures for the Falcon 2,000 executive jet and subsequently could assemble this commercial aircraft in India. This would be the first time that a commercial jet will be assembled in India.
It is being said Reliance Defence was incorporated days before announcement of the Rafale deal?
We incorporated three companies in December 2014. In February 2015, we publically announced our entry in the Defence segment in presence of hundreds of media persons at Aero India. Formal notification was sent to Stock Exchange in February 2015. Ten more companies were incorporated during January to April 2015. How can one link date of incorporation of Reliance Defence to announcement of Rafale purchase ?
The Congress has been questioning Anil Ambani’s presence in Paris at the time of announcement of the deal…
Mr Ambani is part of CEO’s Forum for France and also many other countries. He was in Paris because there was a meeting of CEOs Forum on the side lines of the Prime Minister’s visit. More than 25 other CEOs from the Indian companies were also present, including Chairman HAL. Rafale contract allegations are unfounded, says Reliance Defence president Rajesh K Dhingra