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Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan begins visit to France

NEW DELHI (PTI): Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Anil Chauhan on Sunday embarked on a visit to France to further expand bilateral defence and strategic ties, especially in the Indo-Pacific region that has witnessed growing Chinese military muscle-flexing.

Gen Chauhan is scheduled to hold wide-ranging talks with the senior civil and military leadership of France on ways to bolster the military cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries.

"The visit is aimed to further reinforce the robust defence ties between the two nations, which have gained considerable momentum in the last few years," the Defence Ministry said without mentioning the duration of the trip.

Gen Chauhan's visit to France assumes significance as it comes amid escalating tensions in West Asia.

The overall regional security scenario, including the situation in the Indo-Pacific, is likely to figure in the Chief of Defence Staff's talks with his French interlocutors, officials said.

"During his visit, Gen Chauhan is scheduled to interact with the senior civil and military leadership of France, including his counterpart the French CDS, Gen Thierry Burkhard, Director IHEDN (National Institute for Higher Defence Studies), and Director General Armament," the Ministry said in a statement.

Gen Chauhan is also scheduled to visit the French Space Command, and the Land Forces Command, and address student officers of the Army and Joint Staff Course at Ecole Militaire (School of Military).

He is scheduled to visit and interact with a few reputed defence industries in France, including Safran Group, Naval Group, and Dassault Aviation, the Ministry said.

It said the CDS will also visit the Neuve-Chappelle Memorial and the Indian Memorial at Villers-Guislain and lay a wreath in honour of the brave Indian soldiers, who made the supreme sacrifice during the First World War.

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