On Friday, October 12, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the manufacturing facility of Dassault Aviation where Rafale fighter jets are being manufactured. Minister is on three day visit to France.
Sitharaman visited the Dassault manufacturing plant in Argenteuil near Paris where Rafale jets that India is buying from France are being manufactured. India signed a deal to purchase 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation of France in 2016 under government-to-government deal.
Sitharaman held talks with French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly, and also interacted with CEOs of French defence industry during her visit.
During her visit to France, Smt @nsitharaman interacted with prominent CEOs of the French defence industry to further develop the defence cooperation between India and France pic.twitter.com/ApSsSNryNL
— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) October 13, 2018
Both ministers participated in defence dialogue on October 11 and discuss the ways to deepen the defence cooperation between two countries and agreed to expand the scope and complexity of the regular joint exercises (SHAKTI, VARUNA and GARUDA) in the future.
During the dialogue both ministers emphasized on continue implementation of the “Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region”.
On October 12, Sitharaman also addressed ‘India-France Defence Engagement in a Multipolar World’ at the Institute of Strategic Research (IRSEM) in Paris and asserted that her visit is reaffirmation of India’s commitments to the strategic partnership with France.
As per Ministry statement, Sitharaman said, “Under the new framework for defence industry in India, we are hoping to meet our defence requirements within a framework of joint manufacturing and technology driven partnerships”.
She also spoke about the threats being posed by the terrorism to the peace and stability of the region and accused Pakistan of providing safe heavens to terrorists and for testing India’s patience.
She said, “the current international security environment can be characterized as one of rapid change and uncertainty, with swathes of sustained instability and violence posing a grave challenge. The persisting threat of terrorism, or what we in India as well as increasingly in Afghanistan too, more accurately refer to as cross-border terrorism, is a primary security threat”.
Minister said that both India and France are victims of terrorism and appreciated France’s unique role in the fight against terrorism by dismantling terrorist financing network and infrastructure.