Sat, 04 Feb 2023

New Delhi [India], November 25 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will co-chair the 4th India-France Annual Defence Dialogue with French Minister for Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu, according to the statement released by the Defence Ministry.

During his three-day visit, from November 26-28, the French minister will meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

This is the first visit of Sebastien Lecornu as French Minister of Armed Forces to India. He is also scheduled to visit the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command at Kochi and watch India's first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, as per the statement.

During his visit, Minister Lecornu will visit the National War Memorial in Delhi to pay tribute to bravehearts who laid down their lives in the line of duty, as per the statement released by the French Embassy.

During his visit to India French Minister Lecornu will hold wide-ranging talks with his counterpart, Rajnath Singh, "spanning all aspects of our defence cooperation, including operational defence ties, counter-terrorism, maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, and industrial and technological partnerships in line with India's 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' policy".

The Armed Forces minister's visit to India reaffirms France's engagement in the Indo-Pacific and India's centrality in the French strategy for the region. It comes in a year that has seen an acceleration of the French and Indian armed forces' endeavours towards even greater interoperability through joint air, navy, and army exercises, such as IMEX 22 (March), Varuna (March-April), and the recently-concluded Garuda (October-November), as per the statement.

India and France share close and friendly bilateral relations. In 1998, the two countries entered into Strategic Partnership, marking the convergence of their views on various international issues apart from a close and growing bilateral relationship.

India and France are partners in defence and armaments, contributing to India's policy of strategic autonomy in the defence sector through numerous industrial cooperation. (ANI)

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