Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

India's Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

India's Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

Hollande was quoted in an article by a French website as claiming that the Indian government had asked the French government to nominate Reliance Defence as its India partner in the deal.

"We had no choice".

Former defence minister Manohar Parrikar had said it was Modi who had finalised the Rafale deal with Hollande in 2015.

The French government said the inter-governmental agreement it signed with India for supplying 36 Rafale aircraft concerns its obligations exclusively with regard to ensuring the delivery and quality of the aircraft. "If you can wipe out Rs 250,000 crore loan of the richest people in India, why cannot you give relief to farmers", he said.

The Anil Ambani-led group is manufacturing aerospace components as part of the offset component of the Rafale deal. The French government says it played no role in Dassault's selection of Reliance.

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Modi, who stormed to power in 2014 promising to rid India of deep-seated corruption, had no "moral right" to remain in power after the revelations from Hollande, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

Responding to Congress attacks on the government for keeping Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) out of the Rafale deal under offset clause, both Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have been constantly stressing that Dassault and Reliance got into an agreement on their own. "We were given no choice, we took the partner which was appointed". He told French news site that his government was told to partner with a specific Indian firm, Reliance Group, for additional "offset" investments.

Another Congress spokesperson, Priyanka Chaturvedi, alleged that "Rafale Minister" and "Reliance Defence's Publicity Minister" colluded to throw HAL out of the deal and hand it over to their dear friend. "Thanks to Francois Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt Anil Ambani", Gandhi tweeted.

"Former French president calls our PM a thief".

Congress president Rahul Gandhi Saturday attacked RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat over his three-day conclave, Future of Bharat: An RSS perspective, that was held in the capital earlier this week.

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"This is Dassault Aviation's choice, as (Dassault) CEO Eric Trappier explained in an interview published in MINT newspaper on April 17", the company, which also makes Falcon business planes, said in a statement.

The Defence Ministry said in a tweet, the French media report was being verified. Escalation of a mere 1,100 crore.

On Friday, Hollande, who cleared the intergovernmental deal when he was in office, was quoted as saying New Delhi had put pressure on Dassault to choose Reliance. "I am sure the Euro equivalent would not be a problem to calculate".

The statement by the Ministry of Defence comes amid media reports of the former French President claiming that the Indian government suggested the private firm for the Rafale offset contract.

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