Ahead of the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron’s maiden visit, India and France on Friday held wide-ranging talks in an effort to further strengthen defence and security ties between the two countries.
Ahead of the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron’s maiden visit, India and France on Friday held wide-ranging talks in an effort to further strengthen defence and security ties between the two countries. The focus of talks between defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and visiting French defence minister Florence Parly has been on co-development of military platforms and enhancing cooperation in the maritime sphere. Both ministers deliberated on a host of key issues, including the regional security situation, transfer of critical technology for various defence projects and ways to ramp up overall strategic ties, an official said. According to the official, all aspects of defence and security cooperation between the two countries, as well as ways to enhance maritime cooperation, were discussed in the meeting.
Parly, who is here on a two-day visit, is expected to lay the ground for Macron’s upcoming trip to India, later in the day travelled to the MIHAN SEZ in Nagpur to participate in the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Dassault Reliance Aerospace (DRAL) by its joint promoters, Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani and Dassault Aviation CMD Eric Trappier, in the presence of road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, , and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The 51:49 joint venture between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Aerospace is coming up with an capital investment of `6,500 crore and will be the biggest FDI in the Indian defence sector till now, according to top officials. This has been set up as part of Dassault’s offset obligations for the Rs 58,000-crore deal to supply 36 Rafale fighters. Spread over 289 acres, DAAP is touted to be the largest greenfield aerospace project in India.
The joint venture will be the leading entity to execute the Rafale offset programme. A statement released by the French embassy in New Delhi said that Parly’s visit is aimed at strengthening all aspects of France’s “fast developing” defence cooperation with India, its foremost Asian strategic partner. The aerospace park will have assembly lines and manufacturing facilities for fixed-wing aircraft and will manufacture aircraft components for global markets. The Dassault-Reliance partnership will bring in not only high-level transfer of technology but also help develop the ecosystem of the domestic aerospace sector and feed into the global supply chain, said an official.