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French defence minister Florence Parly to arrive in India today

NEW DELHI (PTI):  French Defence Minister Florence Parly is scheduled to arrive in India today on a two-day visit that is aimed at further strengthening the already close bilateral strategic ties, people familiar with the developments said.

Parly will hold wide-ranging talks with her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh on Friday to enhance defence and security ties between the two countries besides delving into pressing regional issues, they said.

The recent developments in Afghanistan and the situation in the Indo-Pacific region are likely to figure in the talks.

It will be Parly's fourth visit to India since 2017. She had visited India in September last year primarily to attend a ceremony in Ambala that was held to induct the first batch of five Rafale jets into the Indian Air Force.

In 2016, India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft for Rs 59,000 crore.

The ties between India and France are on an upswing in the last few years with cooperation witnessing a significant expansion in key areas.

The areas of defence and security, civil nuclear cooperation and trade and investment constitute the principal pillars of the Indo-French strategic partnership.

In addition, India and France are increasingly engaged in new areas of cooperation such as in the Indian Ocean region, climate change and sustainable growth and development.

The two countries share a close degree of convergence on a range of regional and global issues as well including ways to deal with terrorism and extremism.

It will be the first high-level visit from France to India after Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS) announced a security partnership in September.

The AUKUS security will facilitate Australia getting technology to build nuclear-powered submarines.

France reacted angrily to the formation of the new alliance as it resulted in Paris effectively losing a multi-billion dollar deal to build 12 conventional submarines for Australia. France is also upset over its exclusion from the alliance.

In October, India and France agreed to strengthen the defence and security partnership by enhancing intelligence and information sharing, bolstering mutual capabilities, and pursuing new initiatives in maritime, space and cyber domains.

The two countries resolved to expand the defence ties at a meeting of India-France strategic dialogue in Paris that was co-chaired by NSA Ajit Doval and Emmanuel Bonne, the Diplomatic Advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron.

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Brahmand World Defence Update 2024

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