HomeIndiaModi-Macron Talks Boost India-France Defence, Space And Civil Nuclear Cooperation

Modi-Macron Talks Boost India-France Defence, Space And Civil Nuclear Cooperation

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron held talks in Jaipur on Thursday and agreed to enhance India-France cooperation in defence, space and civil-nuclear sectors. They also signed a defence industrial roadmap and a defence space partnership agreement. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, who briefed the media on Friday, said the defence industrial roadmap will identify opportunities for co-designing, co-development and co-production of military hardware and building defence supply chains. He said the aim is to meet the defence needs of India and France and also to contribute to the security partnership with other countries.

Kwatra said the defence space partnership agreement will enable joint work on a space situational awareness programme, which is important for developing military satellites and sharing information on space traffic and debris.

He also said that Tata Advanced Systems Ltd and Airbus Helicopters have entered into an industrial partnership for joint production of H125 helicopters in India with a significant indigenous and localisation component. He said Airbus SE will set up an assembly line in India for the helicopters.

The foreign secretary said Modi and Macron also discussed various aspects of civil-nuclear energy cooperation and that there was a very positive and forward leaning conversation on small modular reactors (SMRs). He said the civil-nuclear cooperation has several elements such as localisation, financial viability and cost effectiveness and that the discussions are ongoing.

He also said that Modi and Macron exchanged views on the situation in the Red Sea and the potential disruptions that it can cause, as well as the conflict in Gaza. He said there was no announcement on India’s proposed procurement of 26 naval variants of Rafale jets and three Scorpene submarines from France as the price negotiations are still underway.

The foreign secretary said Modi and Macron also firmed up agreements for boosting engagement in areas of healthcare, education, training, research and sustainable development. He said the year 2026 will be celebrated as India-France year of innovation.

He also said Modi and Macron touched upon the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in the Indian Ocean Region and the Indo-Pacific.

Macron, who was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations at the Kartavya Path on Friday, was accompanied by a delegation of senior ministers, officials and top executives of leading French defence majors including Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. He began his two-day visit to India from Jaipur.

The foreign secretary described the area of small modular reactors (SMRs) as a relatively new domain space in terms of discussion between the two countries.

“Technology needs to come together, viability needs to come together and its positioning in the overall energy mix needs to come together. There was a very positive, forward leaning ongoing conversation between the two countries (on it),” he said.

An MoU was inked by New Space India Limited (NSIL) and French space agency Arianespace for cooperation in satellite launches.

Kwatra said the French side has always been forthcoming in supporting India’s candidacy for the membership of the International Energy Agency.

He also said that following up on a decision taken during Modi’s visit to Paris in July last year, the Indian consulate in the southern French city Marseille and the French bureau in Hyderabad are now fully ready to be operational.

The defence and strategic ties between India and France have been on an upswing in the last few years.

The two strategic partners also expressed commitment to cooperate in the co-development and co-production of advanced defence technologies, including for the benefit of third countries.

The two sides are also expanding cooperation in the maritime domain including in the Indian Ocean Region.

(With Agency Inputs)

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