Thu, 02 Feb 2023

New Delhi [India], November 28 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar today welcomed French Minister of Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu and held discussions on contemporary strategic developments.

Dr S Jaishankar tweeted, "Welcomed French Minister of Armed Forces @SebLecornu to MEA this evening. A wide ranging discussion on contemporary strategic developments." Notably, Sebastien Lecornu has arrived in India for a three-day visit from November 26-28.

Earlier in the day, Lecornu held fourth India-France annual defence dialogue with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral, regional, defence and defence industrial cooperation issues, according to a press release issued by Ministry of Defence. Singh and Lecornu reviewed the defence cooperation and discussed ways to strengthen maritime cooperation.

The two leaders reviewed the ongoing military-to-military cooperation which has increased substantially in recent years. They discussed means to strengthen maritime cooperation and increase the scope and complexity of bilateral exercises. They noted with satisfaction that India and France successfully conducted their bilateral Air Exercise 'Garuda' in Jodhpur.

During the dialogue, Rajnath Singh and Sebastien Lecornu discussed defence industrial cooperation with a focus on 'Make in India'. The two leaders spoke about future cooperation and potential co-production opportunities. Singh and Lecornu agreed that the technical groups should meet early next year and take forward the key cooperation issues.

Rajnath Singh and Sebastien Lecornu recognised their convergences on a number of strategic and defence issues. Both sides shared the commitment to work together on enhancing cooperation in bilateral, regional and multilateral fora, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region.

Sebastien Lecornu also held a meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Emmanuel Lenain, French ambassador to India, in a tweet, said, "At their meeting today in Delhi, French Minister for the Armed Forces @SebLecornuIndia's NSA Ajit Doval shared close assessments of major global and regional security issues, and agreed to intensify France India counterterrorism cooperation."Earlier in the day, French Minister for the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu was accorded the Guard of Honour in New Delhi after he was received by his Indian counterpart in the national capital on Monday. Lecornu also laid a wreath at National War Memorial, as he began the Delhi leg of his visit. On Sunday, the French minister of armed forces visited India's indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in Kochi.

According to the Ministry of Defence press release, "The French Minister of Armed Forces stated that he was highly impressed with INS Vikrant. France is one of India's most trusted strategic partners and both countries look forward to celebrating 25 years of their strategic partnership in 2023." (ANI)

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