Friendly Powers Need to Join Hands: France

Foreign Affairs

New Delhi: Ahead of the visit of French Defence Minister  Florence Parly’s visit to India, the French Embassy said that she would “reiterate France’s commitment to strengthening India’s defence industrial base and its willingness to offer the best of its technology with a high ‘Make In India’ component.”

In a statement, the embassy said she will be on an official visit to India on December 17 to strengthen Indo-French strategic and defence ties.

“This visit highlights France’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific and the centrality of India in the French strategy. It comes in the wake of several major bilateral air, navy, and army exercises this year,” the embassy said.

“Minister Parly will stress France and India’s joint commitment to answering the challenges of the Indo-Pacific by bringing together friendly powers to defend the rule of law, offering a positive agenda to the countries of the region, and rejecting all forms of hegemony”.

There have been growing global concerns over China’s increasing military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.

“In this respect, Minister Parly will detail the recently unveiled EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific that brings a multiplier effect to this comprehensive approach for the region,” the embassy said.

“Upon taking the presidency of the Council of the European Union on January 1, 2022, France will make the Indo-Pacific and India a key priority,” it said. The embassy said the “in-depth talks” she will have in India will cover all aspects of the wide-ranging Indo-French defence ties.

It said the areas to be covered in the talks will include operational defence cooperation, particularly maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, industrial and technological partnership in line with Make in India and counter-terrorism cooperation.

She will pay tribute to India’s soldiers at the National War Memorial and offer her respects to CDS Gen Bipin Rawat who died in a helicopter crash, the embassy said. It will be Parly’s fourth visit to India since 2017.

The French minister will engage in a discussion organised by the Ananta Aspen Centre entitled ‘How does France cooperate with India to defend a rules-based Indo-Pacific region?’.