Anil Ambani Visited France, Met Top Defence Officials

Anil Ambani of Reliance Defence had met top French Defence Ministry officials in March 2015 in Paris, just a fortnight before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France.

Rafale deal: In a sensational expose in the Rafale controversy, The Indian Express on Tuesday reported that businessman Anil Ambani met top French Defence Ministry officials in March 2015 in Paris, just a fortnight before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France when the deal to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets was clinched.

The IE report said that Ambani had visited Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s office in Paris and held a meeting with his top advisors. Those who attended the meeting included Le Drian’s special advisor Jean-Claude Mallet, Christophe Salomon (industry advisor) and Geoffrey Bouquot (technical advisor for industrial affairs).

Later, speaking about Anil Ambani’s March meeting, Salomon told a top official of a European defence company that it was a “confidential and planned as you can imagine with very short notice”.

Notably, when Ambani visited France to meet Le Drian’s officials, it was known to everyone that PM Modi will fly to France on an official trip between April 9 and 11. When PM Modi left for France, Anil Ambani was part of the delegation that he was leading. It was during this visit, the deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets was announced by PM Modi and then French President Francois Hollande in a joint statement.

The report said that Ambani had during the meeting expressed desire to work with Airbus Helicopters on both commercial and defence helicopters. He is also said to have mentioned an MoU “in preparation and the intention to sign during PM Modi’s visit”. The revelation was made by an official who was briefed on the meeting.

Source: Financial Express

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