New Delhi: Former French President Francois Hollande may be saying that Anil Ambani was imposed upon them as a partner by the Narendra Modi government in 2015, but the fact is that Dassault Aviation had chosen the Reliance group as its partner in India way back in 2013 after getting shortlisted as the lowest bidder in the 126 aircraft deal. 

In 2013, Dassault’s chief executive officer Eric Trappier had told this reporter in an interview that the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries would be its key partner in the aircraft deal along with the HAL, which was imposed as a partner as per the tender. 

Trappier had said further at that time that Dassault would set up a joint venture company with Reliance Industries to work on the deal, which could have cost the country over $ 25 billion.

"We have a special partnership with Reliance company. It, as a private company, wants to be in the defence sector and we are supporting this partnership... We will create a JV company with Reliance in India," Trappier had stated in 2013 during the Aero India show that year in Bangalore. 

The two sides had also agreed to sign a deal for manufacturing the wings of the Rafale planes in India, which would have marked the entry of Reliance Industries into the defence sector.

The French firm had said that the joint venture (JV) company would be set up after the deal was signed. The French were hoping to sign the deal in 2013, but the deal could not be signed due to unresolved issues between HAL and Dassault Aviation. 

However, later on when the Ambani brothers decided on the sectors in which they would work, elder brother Mukesh decided to exit the defence sector and Anil Ambani became the partner of Dassault as per the arrangements in the family.