State-run plane-maker HAL is not contending to be an offset partner of any original equipment manufacturer, but would like to be a "total technology transfer partner" for production of aircraft, its chairman and managing director R Madhavan said today.
Mr Madhavan's reply came when he was asked to clarify whether Hindustan Aeronautics Limited had been deprived of an offset contract from the Rafale deal.
"We are not contending to be an offset partner to any OEM, rather HAL would like to be a total technology transfer partner for production of aircraft," he said.
He said HAL's basic focus was on manufacturing aircraft, helicopters, associated accessories and their repair and overhaul, and not in garnering offset business. Production of aircraft from transfer of technology is totally different from offsets, he said.
Some portion of the offset business from other programmes was being administered at the HAL, but it does not form a major business, Mr Madhavan said. "HAL will continue to get these offset business," he added.
The Congress recently accused the government of forcing Dassault Aviation to make Reliance Defence its offset partner for the Rs 58,000 crore deal to buy 36 Rafale jets. It alleged the government was helping the Anil Ambani group get a contract worth Rs 30,000 crore from the deal.
Reliance Group, in a statement, has said Dassault Aviation's investment in Reliance Airport Developers Limited has no link with the Rafale fighter jet deal, and has accused the Congress of resorting to "blatant lies" for political gains.
Reliance has also said the Indian government, the French government, Dassault and Reliance have clarified on multiple occasions that there was no offset contract for Rs 30,000 crore to Reliance as alleged by the Congress.
Earlier, in an interaction with the media on November 2, Mr Madhavan had said HAL was completely out of the Rafale deal, but at one point of time, it was part of it, which did not take off.
"We are not in that (Rafale) business now. We were in it at one point of time. It is a direct purchase by the government and cannot make any comments on pricing and policy changes," he had said.
Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal