Modi, Macron agree to intensify strategic defence cooperation, push ‘Make in India’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Modi, Macron agree to intensify strategic defence cooperation, push ‘Make in India’

Jun 14, 2024 04:41 PM IST

France is India’s closest strategic partner in Europe and the two sides have built up close cooperation, especially in security and defence

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday agreed to intensify strategic defence cooperation, with an increased focus on the “Make in India” initiative, while emphasising that a strong bilateral strategic partnership is crucial for a stable global order.

Apulia: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Italy on June 14 (PTI/@MEAIndia*)
Apulia: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Italy on June 14 (PTI/@MEAIndia*)

Macron was the first world leader to meet PM Modi on the margins of the G7 Summit at Apulia in Italy. PM Modi, who is attending the G7 Summit’s outreach session, is set to hold bilateral meetings with several leaders, including his British counterpart Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

France is India’s closest strategic partner in Europe and the two sides have built up close cooperation, especially in security and defence. India is currently in negotiations with France to acquire 26 Rafale jets for the Indian Navy and earlier procured 36 jets for the Indian Air Force under a 2016 deal worth Euro 7.87 billion.

Modi and Macron “agreed to further intensify strategic defence cooperation with increased focus on ‘Make in India’”, said a readout from the external affairs ministry, referring to the Indian initiative aimed at achieving greater self-reliance in key areas.

The two leaders exchanged views on key global and regional issues, and “emphasised that a strong and trusted strategic partnership between India and France is crucial for a stable and prosperous global order and agreed to work closely to make it scale greater heights”, the readout said.

They also reviewed bilateral relations, with a focus on the “Horizon 2047” roadmap and the Indo-Pacific roadmap. Their discussions covered cooperation in defence, nuclear, space, education, climate action, digital public infrastructure, connectivity and cultural initiatives such as the National Museum partnership and enhancing people-to-people ties.

Macron and Modi agreed to expand cooperation in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), critical and emerging technologies, energy, and sports, and to work closely in the context of the forthcoming AI Summit and United Nations Oceans Conference, which will both be hosted in France in 2025.

PM Modi thanked Macron for his wishes on assuming office for a third term. He also conveyed his best wishes to Macron for the forthcoming Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

During PM Modi’s visit to France last July, the two sides signed a raft of agreements to deepen defence cooperation, including pacts for three submarines for the Indian Navy and the development of jet and helicopter engines.

Following the success of India’s P75 or Scorpene submarine construction programme, state-run Mazagon Dockyard Ltd and France’s Naval Group signed a MoU for building three additional Scorpene submarines.

The two sides are jointly developing a combat aircraft engine under the “Horizon 2047” roadmap. This project is being implemented by France’s Safran and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is developing an engine for India’s multi-role helicopter programme with Safran.

Defence cooperation is a key pillar in India-France relations and the two sides are working on the co-production of military platforms that meet not only their own needs but those of friendly third countries.

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