Thu, 02 Feb 2023

New Delhi [India], November 29 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday attended the 4th India-France Annual Defence Dialogue with Minister of Armed Forces of the French Republic Sebastien Lecornu in New Delhi.

During the meeting, a wide range of bilateral, regional, defence and defence industrial cooperation issues were discussed.The Defence Ministers of India and France reviewed the ongoing military-to-military cooperation which has increased substantially in recent years. They also discussed means to strengthen maritime cooperation and increase the scope and complexity of bilateral exercises, according to a statement from the Indian Ministry of Defence.

They noted that India and France successfully held their bilateral Air Exercise 'Garuda VII' at Air Force Station, Jodhpur.According to the statement from MOD, during the dialogue, one of the key areas of discussion was defence and industrial cooperation with a focus on 'Make in India'.

Future collaborations and potential co-production opportunities were also discussed during the dialogue. The ministers agreed that the technical groups from both countries should meet early next year and take the key cooperation issues forward.The ministers recognised their convergences on a number of strategicdefence issues and shared the commitment to work together on enhancing cooperation in a bilateral, regional and multilateral forum, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region.

France is the current chair of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and Indian Scan Naval Symposium (IONS) and both countries cooperate closely in these matters, said the Ministry of Defense.As part of his visit to India, Mr Sebastien Lecornu on Sunday made a day-long trip to the headquarters of Southern Naval Command and visited India's first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.

The minister said 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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