India and France agree on defense production

India and France continue to expand their defense relations. The two countries agreed to cooperate in joint production of defense equipment, including helicopters and submarines, for the Indian armed forces and friendly countries, New Delhi announced. The agreement was reached during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended a state dinner hosted by President Draupadi Murmu, the government said in a statement at the end of the day on Friday, January 26.

According to the press release, Macron and Modi agreed to expand bilateral relations in the areas of defense equipment production, nuclear energy, space exploration and the use of artificial intelligence for public services such as climate change, health and agriculture. The value of the agreements was not specified. After Russia, France is the most important arms supplier to India, which has relied on its fighter jets for four decades. The leaders welcomed the establishment of maintenance, repair and overhaul services by France's Safran for LEAP engines in India and the addition of similar services for Rafale engines, as well as a partnership in helicopters.

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The bilateral summit, held during Emmanuel Macron's visit, was the fifth meeting between the French president and the Indian prime minister since May. India's Tata and France's Airbus have signed an agreement to jointly produce civil helicopters, Indian Foreign Minister Vinay Kwatra said. French engine manufacturer CFM International also announced an agreement with India's Akasa Air to purchase more than 300 of its LEAP-1B engines to equip 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Akasa Air had already ordered 76 aircraft equipped with this engine, of which 22 are currently in service.

According to the government press release, India and France have agreed to increase cooperation in the southwest Indian Ocean, building on joint surveillance missions to be conducted from the French island territory of Réunion in 2020 and 2022. Emmanuel Macron also said that France would create the necessary conditions to attract up to 30,000 Indian students per year to higher education.


With Reuters (Written by William Mallard, French version Benjamin Mallet)

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“We have to involve all suppliers in the ramp-up of our production facility,” said MBDA CEO Eric Béranger