Modi and Macron strengthen defence ties, emphasise ‘Make in India’

Bilateral talks covered key global and regional issues

June 14, 2024

Focus on "Make in India" to enhance self-reliance in defence

Agreements reviewed under "Horizon 2047" and Indo-Pacific roadmaps

Expansion in AI, emerging technologies, energy, and sports cooperation

Joint development of combat aircraft and helicopter engines underway

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on Friday to enhance strategic defence cooperation. They emphasised the importance of the “Make in India” initiative for achieving self-reliance in defence production and stressed that a robust bilateral strategic partnership is essential for a stable global order.

Macron was the first world leader to meet PM Modi on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Apulia, Italy. Modi, attending the G7 outreach session, plans to hold bilateral meetings with several leaders, including British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

France remains India’s closest strategic partner in Europe, with strong cooperation in security and defence. India is currently negotiating the acquisition of 26 Rafale jets for the Indian Navy, adding to the 36 jets procured for the Indian Air Force in a 2016 deal worth €7.87 billion.

Modi and Macron discussed key global and regional issues, reinforcing the importance of a trusted strategic partnership between India and France for a prosperous global order. They agreed to collaborate closely to elevate their partnership further.

The leaders reviewed bilateral relations, focusing on the “Horizon 2047” and Indo-Pacific roadmaps, covering defence, nuclear, space, education, climate action, digital public infrastructure, connectivity, and cultural initiatives, including the National Museum partnership and enhancing people-to-people ties.

They also agreed to expand cooperation in artificial intelligence (AI), critical and emerging technologies, energy, and sports and to collaborate closely in the context of the upcoming AI Summit and United Nations Oceans Conference, both of which will be hosted by France in 2025.

PM Modi expressed gratitude to Macron for his congratulations on Modi’s third term in office and extended his best wishes for the upcoming Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

During Modi’s visit to France last July, several agreements were signed to deepen defence cooperation, including pacts for three submarines for the Indian Navy and the development of jet and helicopter engines. Following the success of India’s P75 or Scorpene submarine construction programme, Mazagon Dockyard Ltd and France’s Naval Group signed a MoU to build three additional Scorpene submarines.

The two nations are jointly developing a combat aircraft engine under the “Horizon 2047” roadmap, a project implemented by France’s Safran and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Additionally, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is developing an engine for India’s multi-role helicopter programme with Safran.

Defence cooperation remains a cornerstone of India-France relations, with both sides working on co-production military platforms to meet their own needs and those of friendly third countries.

Source: Hindustan Times

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