French President Emmanuel Macron Emmanuel Bonne’s top adviser and India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will hold an annual strategic dialogue expected Thursday to review progress made on the 10,000-megawatt nuclear power plant to be set up in Maharashtra and the construction of six nuclear power plants. A diesel-electric submarine under the Indian Navy’s P-75I program, said people with knowledge of the development.
The two top advisers will also discuss enhancing maritime security and developments in the Indo-Pacific region, especially in the context of China’s aggressive moves along the Line of Actual Control, they said.
Bonne, President Macron’s diplomatic adviser, is expected to summon PM Narendra Modi and foreign minister S Jaishankar, and meet Foreign Minister Harsh Shringla on Friday. “The two sides will hold discussions on various bilateral and global issues,” the foreign ministry said in a statement ahead of a strategic dialogue that will seek to strengthen deep relations between the two countries. France has been one of India’s most reliable partners in Europe for years, but the two countries have grown closer over the past few years, leading to a defense deal for 36 Rafale aircraft. When French defense minister Florence Parly was in India last year in the context of induction of fighter jets in the Indian Air Force, she and defense minister Rajnath Singh agreed to stick to the Rafale template of an intergovernmental agreement for future defense. purchase.
India is expected to sign a $ 2.5 billion contract this year for 56 medium-sized transport aircraft under the Make in India initiative. India is also looking to acquire six Airbus 330 multi-role transport tanker aircraft to expand the IAF’s strike capabilities through the latest air refuellers as well as Safran aircraft engines under the Make in India program. The jet engines used by Dassault Aviation for its Rafale jets can be used to propel an advanced twin-engine multi-role fighter developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to develop its own version.
One official said France was responding positively to New Delhi’s concerns about access to military technology to countries with hostile ties to India, a reference to Pakistan. France has decided not to help Pakistan upgrade its fleet of Mirage fighter jets, air defense systems and Agosta 90B-class submarines, a decision made after Prime Minister Imran Khan harshly criticized French President Macron. Around the same time, France also told Qatar, which had previously purchased Rafale jets for its air force, not to allow Pakistani technicians near the plane for maintenance.
Pakistani observers say that due to the French government’s restrictive approach, the Mirage 3 and Mirage 5 fighters in the Pakistan air force’s inventory did not participate in last month’s joint air exercise, Eagle-IX, which involved the Chinese and Pakistani air forces. Doval and Bonne are also expected to discuss India’s other neighbor, China, in detail, especially given French concerns around Beijing trying to flex their muscles in the Indo-Pacific region. China, for example, has been trying to get people on the island group of French New Caledonia to vote for independence in three referendums being held to decide its future. This 18,575 sq km island group, located in the South Pacific in eastern Australia, is one of the 16 overseas territories of France with 1.5 million French residents.
In October last year, France formalized its interest in the Indo-Pacific when President Macron appointed Christophe Penot, one of his country’s most senior diplomats, as the first French envoy to the Indo-Pacific. As part of this focus, France has forged new initiatives such as the trilateral dialogue it launched with India and Australia last September to enhance cooperation and strengthen multilateralism in the region.