India and France boost defence and security ties

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with her French counterpart Florence Parly at the South Block  in New Delhi on Friday.PTI Photo

New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with her French counterpart Florence Parly at the South Block in New Delhi on Friday.PTI Photo

French Defence Minister Florence Parly, who is on a two-day visit to India, met her Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday morning. Both ministers held wide-ranging talks to further boost defence and security ties between the two nations.

A host of issues including the regional security situation, transfer of critical technology for various defence projects, co-development of military platforms, and enhancing cooperation in the maritime sphere were discussed.

Parly  is also expected to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meet National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

Parly is also likely to push for a follow on order of additional Rafale fighter jets, after the delivery of 36 jets under a Rs 58,000 crore deal was finalised last year.

On Thursday, the French Embassy had said in a statement that Parley’s visit is aimed at strengthening all aspects of France’s “fast developing” defence cooperation with India, its foremost Asian strategic partner.

During her two-day visit, Parly is likely to lay the ground for French President Emmanuel Macron’s upcoming trip to India.

Earlier an official statement had said that the talks between the leaders would range from defence cooperation, in particular on maritime security, joint exercises of the armed forces, counter-terrorism, to industrial and technological partnership under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

Parly is also scheduled to travel to Nagpur to attend the foundation laying ceremony of an aerospace park being set up under a joint venture by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation and Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Aerospace Ltd.

The joint venture is part of Dassault’s offset obligations for the Rs 58,000 crore deal to supply 36 Rafale fighter jets to India.

The French defence minister will also visit the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) and the Western Naval Command (WNC) in Mumbai. At MDL shipyard, she will visit the yard where six Scorpene submarines are being made in India with transfer of technology under the P75 project by the MDL. The submarines are being built in collaboration with French shipbuilding major Naval Group (formerly DCNS).

(With inputs from PTI)