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Modi, Macron bilateral emphasises furthering India-France defence cooperation; focus on indigenous mfg

Modi, Macron bilateral emphasises furthering India-France defence cooperation; focus on indigenous mfg
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to further intensify strategic defence cooperation with an increased focus on 'Make in India' when both leaders met on the sidelines of the G7 Summit held in Italy.

"They (both the leaders) agreed to further intensify strategic defence cooperation with an increased focus on 'Make in India'," a short statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.

At the invitation of Prime Minister Meloni, PM Modi travelled to the Apulia region in Italy to participate in the G7 Outreach Summit earlier this week. This was his first overseas visit since assuming office for the third consecutive term.

France is one of India's key partners in the development of a self-reliant defence industrial and technological base. India and France are committed to cooperating in the co-development and co-production of advanced defence technologies, including for the benefit of third countries.

Several defence companies, in both countries, are currently working on various initiatives, including cooperation for the motorization of heavy-lift helicopters under the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter [IMRH] programme with Safran Helicopter Engine, France. A shareholder's agreement between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), India and Safran Helicopter Engine, France, has been concluded for engine development.

Safran Helicopter Engine and HAL collaborated on the transfer of technology of forging and casting for the Shakti Engine. This is also reflective of the French commitment to support technology transfer and the Make in India initiative. Another such example is the MoU between Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd. (GRSE), and Naval Group France, a leader in the European Naval Defence Industry, to collaborate in the field of surface ships that cater to the requirements of India and International Naval forces.

India is investing heavily in defence and aerospace manufacturing, with several defence hubs being set up. Indian defence PSUs have benefited, besides the companies in the private sector, as they have accumulated tremendously high returns on equities in the past few years, benefiting from the new orders.

Notably, many global companies have either shared or shown intent to share critical defence and aerospace knowledge with India.

This April, Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan visited France, further reinforcing the bilateral defence cooperation between the two nations.

The interactions of CDS with Patrick Pailloux, Director of Civil and Military Cabinet of the Minister of the French Armed Forces, and Lt Gen Vincent Giraud, Chief of Military Cabinet of the Minister of the Armed Forces at the apex level and also with his counterpart, General Thierry Burkhard have enabled the exchange of views on areas of common interest and mutual security concerns.

Deliberations on enhancing the exchange of high-end dual-use technologies, besides discussions with the top leadership of the French Defence industry, including Dassault, Safran and Naval Groups, and Thales Alenia Space, towards futuristic capacity building of the Indian Armed Forces, are expected to provide an impetus to indigenization.

India and France had decided to deepen their cooperation in all areas of the space sector by strengthening their programmes of common interest.

The India-France Strategic Partnership has gathered significant momentum over time and has now evolved into an even closer and more multifaceted relationship that spans diverse areas of cooperation. In 1998, the two countries upgraded their partnership to a strategic level.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Indo-French partnership, both countries agreed in July 2023 to adopt a roadmap to set the course for the bilateral relationship up to 2047, which will celebrate the centenary of India's independence, the centenary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and 50 years of the strategic partnership.

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