Defence minister Rajnath Singh to embark on 4-day visit to France, Italy from Monday | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Defence minister Rajnath Singh to embark on 4-day visit to France, Italy from Monday

Oct 08, 2023 07:36 PM IST

The defence minister’s visit to France comes at a time when India is pursuing some major military acquisitions from that country including maritime fighter jets

Defence minister Rajnath Singh will on Monday leave for official visits to Italy and France from October 9 to 12 to deepen defence cooperation with the two countries, a defence ministry spokesperson said on Sunday.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh. (File Photo)
Defence minister Rajnath Singh. (File Photo)

The visit to France comes at a time when India is pursuing some major military acquisitions from that country including maritime fighter jets.

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In the first leg of the visit, Singh will hold talks with Italian defence minister Guido Crosetto in Rome, while during the second leg he will hold the 5th Annual Defence Dialogue with his French counterpart Sebastien Lecornu in Paris, the ministry said in a statement.

A roadmap for defence cooperation is likely to be announced in Paris, officials aware of the matter said.

The relationship between India and Italy was elevated to strategic partnership in March 2023 during the visit of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to India. Also, India and France recently celebrated 25 years of their strategic partnership.

“In both Rome and Paris, the Raksha Mantri will also interact with defence industry CEOs and senior representatives to discuss potential opportunities for industrial cooperation,” the statement added.

The visit to France comes at a time when India is looking at buying 26 Rafale M fighters from that country for the navy’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, the 45,000-tonne INS Vikrant. The Rafale M edged out the American F/A-18 Super Hornet in a direct competition to equip the navy with new deck-based fighters.

India will also build three more Scorpene-class submarines in the country with technology from France to boost the navy’s undersea capabilities.

The two deals are estimated to have a combined value of €9 billion to €10 billion, though the final price will be determined after complex negotiations between India and France.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Paris in July as the guest of honour at the French National Day on the 25th anniversary of the India-France strategic partnership.

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