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India, Germany to sign joint defence agreement

india Updated: Sep 02, 2006 15:42 IST
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India and Germany will be signing their first-ever joint defence cooperation agreement to provide for transfer of German hi-tech weapons technology and broader interaction between the armed forces of the two countries.

The agreement would be concluded during the high-level visit of Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Germany and France beginning from Sunday.

"The agreement would open doors of German technology transfer to India and provide the framework for holding joint naval exercises and more interaction between the armed forces of the two countries," a defence ministry spokesman said in the capital.

In Berlin, Mukherjee would hold talks with Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung and Minister for Technology and Economics Michael Gloss. He will also address the captains of German defence industries.

Mukherjee will also pay homage at the Zehrensdorf Indian cemetery where the graves of 206 Indian soldiers who died as prisoners during the first World War
lie.

He will hold wide-ranging talks with his French counterpart Michele Aliottee and also have an interactive round table with the Chief Excutives of the French Defence - related industries, including the European consortium EADS, Thales and Aviation giant Dassault.

The visit to Paris comes against the backdrop of anxiety in French armament industry - India's third largest weapons supplier - over the future of strategic tie-ups.

India and France have a robust tie-up in the field of supply and production of defence-related equipment and the two countries have set-up a high level high committee to oversee hi-tech weapons technology transfer and strategic ties.

France, which did not impose sanctions against India, post-Pokhran Nuclear tests, is wary of India's growing tie-up with the US fearing it might affect the supply of its military equipment to India.

Besides the Minister, the Indian delegation would also comprise S Banerjee, Director General Acquisition, Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff Lt Gen HS Lidder, Air Marshal FH Major Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Air Command, eminent missile scientist Dr Prahlada, Joint Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry Sujata Singh and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence Gautam Chatterjee.

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