In a hugely important deal for India's private defence industry, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group and Rafale maker Dassault Aviation announced a joint venture (JV) on Monday.
This venture will fulfil the role of a "key player" in execution of offset contract worth nearly Rs 22,000 crore as a part of the fighter jet deal.
The announcement of the JV, Dassault Reliance Aerospace, comes within days of India and France on September 23 signing an agreement for 36 Rafale fighter jets at a value of euro 7.87 billion, or about Rs 59,000 crore.
The agreement includes a 50 per cent offset obligation, the largest-ever offset contract in the history of India. The main point of the offset agreement is 74 per cent of it has to be imported from India, which means direct business worth around Rs 22,000 crore. The offset, spread over seven years, will be finalised soon.
There is also a technology-sharing component, which is being discussed with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Other companies involved in the Rafale deal include French firms MBDA and Thales, besides Safran, which too will be part of the overall offset obligation.
The Dassault Reliance Aerospace joint venture will be a key player in the execution of offset obligations, a joint statement by the companies said. The development has come as a boost to the Reliance Group, which entered the defence sector only in January 2015.
"This new joint venture called Dassault Reliance Aerospace will support Prime Minister Modi's Make in India and Skill India policies and develop major Indian programmes with high levels of technology transfer to benefit the entire aerospace sector," it added.
The proposed strategic partnership between Dassault and Reliance will also focus on promoting research and development projects under the IDDM programme (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured), a new initiative of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
"The formation of this joint venture with Reliance Aerospace led by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group illustrates our strong commitment to establish ourselves in India and develop strategic industrial partnerships under the Make in India policy promoted by the Indian government," Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO said.
"We are delighted to partner a world leader in aviation like Dassault Aviation. This is a transformational moment for the Indian aerospace sector and Reliance Infrastructure's subsidiary Reliance Aerospace," said Anil Ambani, Chairman of the Reliance Group.