India and France on Monday discussed ways to boost defence industrial cooperation with a focus on `Make in India’ at the 4th India-France Annual Defence Dialogue in New Delhi.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of Armed Forces of France Sebastien Lecornu also talked about further strengthening maritime cooperation as well as increase in scope and complexity of bilateral exercises between the armed forces of both countries.
According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of Defence both sides also discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues including defence and industrial cooperation.
Since defence industrial cooperation with a focus on ‘Make in India’ was one of the key areas on the agenda of talks the two ministers talked about potential co-production opportunities as well future collaborations.
To take the key cooperation issues forward the two ministers agreed that technical groups from both countries should meet early next year.
According to sources the two sides talked about working together on engines for fighter jets as well as working together on other projects for the Indian forces.
Besides reviewing the on-going military to military cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries, both also talked about identifying means of deepening maritime cooperation. And talked about the recently concluded bilateral Air exercise `Garuda’ which this year took place in Jodhpur at Air Force Station.
Also on the agenda of today’s meeting was the shared commitment of the two countries towards enhancing cooperation in not only bilateral, regional but also multilateral fora, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific Region. The European nation is the current chair of Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).
On Sunday, as has been reported earlier the visiting minister made a day long trip to the Southern Naval Command and also visited the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
France is India’s most important strategic partner and next year the two countries are set to celebrate 25 years of their strategic partnership.
The French minister also had a meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the two agreed to intensify cooperation in counter terrorism and also exchanged views related to global and regional security issues.