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India, France discussion on defence industrial cooperation

  • Published
    29th Nov, 2022
Context

During the 4th India-France annual defence dialogue, both countries discusses defence industrial cooperation with a focus on ‘Make in India’ and to strengthen maritime cooperation and increase the scope and complexity of bilateral exercises.

About

Key-points discussed

  • Minister level: Defence Ministers of both India and France
  • The defence industrial cooperation with a focus on ‘Make in India’ was given emphasis.
  • Future collaborations and potential co-production opportunities were discussed.
  • The Ministers agreed that the technical groups from both countries should meet early next year and take the key cooperation issues forward.
  • A wide range of bilateral, regional, and defence industrial cooperation issues were discussed during the dialogue.
  • The agenda for cooperation in Indo-pacific was also discussed between the parties.
  • Ministers reviewed the ongoing military-to-military cooperation, which has increased substantially in recent years.

Assessing India-France Bilateral Relations:

  • France was one of the first countries with which India signed a “strategic partnership” after the end of the Cold War, in January 1998.
  • France was one of the very few countries to support India’s decision to test nuclear weapons in 1998.
  • Defence Cooperation:
    • Both countries have a defence dialogue at the Ministerial level.
    • The three services have regular defence exercises; viz.
      • Exercise Shakti (Army)
      • Exercise Varuna (Navy)
      • Exercise Garuda (Air Force)
  • Recently, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has inducted French Rafale multi-role combat aircraft.
  • There is an Agreement regarding the Provision of Reciprocal Logistics Support.
    • This agreement aims to help to facilitate the replenishment of fuel, rations, spares, and berthing and maintenance for the other nations’ warships, military aircraft, and troops during routine port calls, as well as during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).

Indian Ocean, the Common Shared Interest:

  • France needs to protect its colonial territorial possessions like Reunion Island and the Indian Ocean being the zone of influence for India.
  • Counter Terrorism: France backed India’s proposal for a global conference on terrorism. Both countries also support organizing a new “No Money for Terror” - an International Conference on Fighting Terrorist Financing.
  • France Backing India: France also continues to steadfastly back India on Kashmir while its relations with Pakistan have plummeted in the recent past and China has become an object of suspicion.

Do you know?

France is the current chair of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and both countries cooperate closely in these fora.

  • France joined as the 23rd member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
  • It is the first time that a country whose mainland is not on the Indian Ocean has been brought into the fold of the IORA.

Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA):

  • IORA is a dynamic inter-governmental organization aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region through its 23 Member States and 10 Dialogue Partners.
  • It is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business, and Academia, for promoting cooperation and closer interaction among them.
  • It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation, particularly in Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.
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