New Delhi: Florence Parly, the French Minister for the Armed Forces, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. Parly, who concluded her three-day visit to India on Saturday, spoke to the Prime Minister about areas of mutual cooperation in the defence sector. The meeting with the PM came a day after Parly met her Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman at the Ministry of Defence in South Block, New Delhi.
“Mrs. Parly briefed the Prime Minister about developments in bilateral defence cooperation. The Prime Minister said that defence cooperation is one of the key pillars of the Strategic Partnership between India and France, and called for greater cooperation in the ‘Make in India’ framework in defence manufacturing and joint research & development,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The PM also told Parly that he hoped to receive French President Emanuel Macron at his earliest continence. On Friday, the defence ministers of the two countries met and discussed areas of mutual cooperation. They, too, discussed defence partnership under the PM’s ‘Make in India’ doctrine. A Defence Ministry statement said, “The two Ministers also comprehensively reviewed developments in defence equipment and industry cooperation, where France is a major partner. They agreed to strongly support projects for defence manufacturing under the Make in India initiative as well as promote defence technology and R&D cooperation.”
Crucially, they discussed Indo-French Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The statement added, “The Ministers reiterated their strong intention to further expand bilateral cooperation on counter- terrorism. Recognising the growing significance of maritime security in the Indo-Pacific and the need for greater maritime domain awareness, India and France will further expand information sharing arrangements building upon the Technical Arrangement on Exchange of White Shipping information signed earlier this year,” a Defence Ministry statement said.
This came just hours after the Naval Commanders conference concluded on Friday, where the Indian Navy resolved to step up its presence in the Indian Ocean Region. During the conference, Indian Navy Commanders discussed ‘sustained presence’ and ‘mission based deployment’ of Indian ships in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The move is being seen as a counter to keep Chinese presence in the IOR in check, particularly after tensions between the two nations were high following the Doklam standoff.