NEW DELHI: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval met France’s Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu and discussed a range of issues of common interest including global, regional and bilateral security-related subjects.
During the meeting, particular emphasis was laid on research and development and manufacturing in line with the requirements of future wars. Both sides could strategise jointly and identify priority areas for co-development in line with India’s Make in India policy, according to officials.
Doval and Lecornu highlighted the need for an action-oriented and time-bound approach in line with the visions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron. Special attention would be paid to cooperation in security-related aspects of the global commons including Space, Cyber and Maritime to ensure peace, and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
On Monday, the French minister met Defence Rajnath Singh and held the 4th India-France Annual Defence Dialogue in New Delhi. In a statement, the Defence Ministry said the meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere. A wide range of bilateral, regional, defence and defence industrial cooperation issues were discussed in the dialogue.
The Ministers 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 Air Force Station, Jodhpur successfully.
During the dialogue, one of the key areas of discussion was defence industrial cooperation with a focus on ‘Make in India’. 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.
The Ministers recognised their convergences on 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.
On Monday, the French Minister also met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and discussed contemporary strategic developments.
“Welcomed French Minister of Armed Forces @SebLecornu to MEA this evening. A wide-ranging discussion on contemporary strategic developments,” Jaishankar tweeted. According to the Defence Ministry statement, France is the current chair of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and both countries cooperate closely in these fora.
Lecornu was on a 3-day visit to India. As part of his visit Lecornu also made a day-long trip to Headquarters, Southern Naval Command and visited India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. The French Minister of Armed Forces stated that he was highly impressed with INS Vikrant. France is one of India’s most trusted strategic partners and both countries look forward to celebrating 25 years of their strategic partnership in 2023. (ANI)