By Staff Correspondent
In order to strengthen Indo-French strategic and defence ties, the Minister for the Armed Forces of France, Florence Parly will be on an official visit to India on 17 December 2021. Minister Parly will call on the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and hold the Annual Defence Dialogue with her counterpart, Indian Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh.
These in-depth talks will cover all aspects of the wide-ranging Indo-French defence cooperation, including operational defence cooperation, particularly maritime security in the Indo-Pacific; an industrial and technological partnership in line with Make in India; and counter-terrorism cooperation.
She will also meet the National Security Adviser of the Prime Minister, Ajit Doval, to discuss regional security issues. During her visit, Minister Parly will pay tribute to India’s soldiers at the National War Memorial in Delhi. She will also respect Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat for his tragic demise.
Finally, Minister Parly will engage in a discussion organised by the Ananta Aspen Centre entitled “How does France cooperate with India to defend a rules-based Indo-Pacific region?” moderated by Dr Mohan Kumar, Chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries and former Ambassador of India to France.
This visit highlights France’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific and the centrality of India in the French strategy. This year, it comes in the wake of several primary bilateral air, navy, and army exercises: Desert Knight 21 in January, Varuna in April, and Shakti in November.
Minister Parly will stress France and India’s joint commitment to answering the challenges of the Indo-Pacific by bringing together friendly powers to defend the rule of law, offering a positive agenda to the countries of the region, and rejecting all forms of hegemony.
In this respect, the Minister will detail the recently unveiled European Union Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific that brings a multiplier effect to this comprehensive approach for the region. Upon taking the presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 January 2022, France will make the Indo-Pacific and India a key priority.
Minister Parly’s previous visit to India was on 10 September 2020 for the induction ceremony of the first five Rafale aircraft by the Indian Air Force. Since then, 33 Rafale jets have been delivered to India on schedule despite pandemic disruptions.
The Minister will reiterate France’s commitment to strengthening India’s defence industrial base and its willingness to offer the best of its technology with a high “Make In India” component.