Jaishankar to visit France to better defence ties

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 16, 2015 00:43 IST

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar leaves on a three-day visit to France and Germany later this month in a last-minute bid to seek closure to $23-billion Dassault Rafale fighter deal and an early works agreement with Areva on the Jaitapur nuclear power project in return for critical “Make in India” defence technologies and a joint venture for making large forgings for civilian nuclear reactors.

Jaishankar, who will visit both countries between March 25 and 27, will get the groundwork done for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Paris (April 10-11) and Hannover (April 12-13).

While India is looking towards skill development and deepening of economic ties with Germany, the bilateral relationship with Paris is centred on space, defence and strategic ties.

Although it is still early days with agreements work in progress, the finalisation of the deal for 126 Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) and freezing of technical parameters for the first two 1650 MW nuclear reactors with manufacturer Areva is a distinct possibility as both countries are eager to push their strategic relationship forward.

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