India and France, on Monday, discussed future collaborations and co-production opportunities in the defence field with focus on ”Make in India”.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held the fourth India-France annual defence dialogue with French Minister of Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu in New Delhi. A wide range of bilateral, regional, defence and defence industrial cooperation issues were discussed in the dialogue, the Ministry of Defence said.
The two ministers agreed that the technical groups from both countries should meet early next year and take the key cooperation issues forward.
The two sides reviewed the ongoing military-to-military cooperation which has increased substantially in recent years. They discussed means to strengthen maritime cooperation and increase the scope and complexity of bilateral exercises. They noted with satisfaction that India and France recently held their bilateral air exercise ‘Garuda’ at the Air Force Station, Jodhpur successfully.
The ministers recognised their convergences on a number of strategic and defence issues and shared the commitment to work together on enhancing cooperation in bilateral, regional and multilateral fora, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region. France is the current chair of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and the Indian Scan Naval Symposium (IONS) and both countries cooperate closely in these fora.
As part of his visit to India, the French minister yesterday made a day-long trip to the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command and visited India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. He said he was highly impressed with INS Vikrant.
France is one of India’s most trusted strategic partners and the two countries are looking forward to celebrating 25 years of their strategic partnership in 2023.