Visiting French Defense Minister Florence Parly said France is ready to provide more combat aircraft to India in case there is a request by the Indian Air Force.

Visiting French Defense Minister Florence Parly said France is ready to provide more combat aircraft to India in case there is a request by the Indian Air Force.

As part of the annual ministerial talks between India and France, the visiting minister will hold talks with Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.

In a virtual conversation organized by the Ananta Center for Indo-France Cooperation for Base-Based Defense of the Indo-Pacific, visiting French Defense Minister Florence Parly said in response to a question that her country is “very proud that, despite COVID-19, the delivery of 36 aircraft will be on time.” specified, in accordance with the contract.”

Describing the use of Rafale combat aircraft by the air forces of the two countries as a “real asset and strength” for bilateral cooperation between the two countries, the minister said in response to a query. Adding that “France is ready to meet any additional needs. There is room for new developments.”

Indian content in a military platform

Explaining her country’s commitment to supporting the Make in India initiative, she added, “We are very pleased that the Indian Air Force is satisfied with the Rafale.” To boost the Make in India initiative, the French side is making efforts to integrate Indian manufacturers into global supply chains, such as submarines.

The minister, who is on an official visit to strengthen strategic and defense relations between the two countries, also indicated that the Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier would need more Rafales (the naval version). The original aircraft carrier is expected to be operational by mid-2022.

More about the Rafale deal

In 2016, the two countries signed a deal to purchase 36 Rafale combat aircraft from Dassault Aviation. India has so far received 33 of the 36 Rafale fighters, which have been customized based on Indian Air Force specifications. The visiting minister attended the induction ceremony for the first batch of fighters at a ceremony in 2020 at Ambala Air Base.

The remaining three aircraft are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

Once the delivery of the 36 aircraft is complete, there are reports that the Rafale aircraft will go for an upgrade.

In China

While noting that China is becoming “more and more aggressive” in the region, the visiting minister stated that France is seeking to find a “delicate balance” between addressing such behaviour, trying to cooperate with China on issues such as trade and climate change. .

Maritime law and freedom of navigation

She said sea lanes should remain free. India and France have the same views regarding maritime law and freedom of navigation and these lanes are used for most goods. These lanes must remain free. “We’ve seen at times that there are attempts to shut this down and we want to make sure that this freedom of navigation is respected.”

AUKUS effect

She stressed that France is “the country of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.” And, “We want to develop a close multilateral relationship with neighboring countries. India is the center of this strategy.”

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