French Defence Minister Florence Parly will also meet with her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh. (File)
French Defence Minister Florence Parly is set to pay an official visit to India on Friday to strengthen Indo-French strategic and defence ties.
"French Defence Minister Florence Parly will be on an official visit to India on Dec 17 to strengthen Indo-French strategic and defence ties. She will call on PM Modi and hold Annual Defence Dialogue with her Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh," French Embassy in New Delhi said in a statement.
"The talks will cover aspects of wide-ranging Indo-French defence cooperation, incl operational defence cooperation, particularly maritime security in Indo-Pacific; an industrial and technological partnership in line with Make in India and counter-terrorism cooperation," the Embassy added.
During her official visit, Ms Parly will also meet Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, in particular for discussions on regional security issues. She will pay tribute to India's soldiers at the National War Memorial in Delhi. She will also offer her respects to CDS General Bipin Rawat on his tragic demise.
Ms Parly will engage in a discussion organised by the Ananta Aspen Centre entitled "How does France cooperate with India to defend a rules-based Indo-Pacific region?" and moderated by Dr Mohan Kumar, Chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries and former Ambassador of India to France.
According to the French Embassy, this visit highlights France's engagement in the Indo-Pacific and the centrality of India in the French strategy.
"It comes in the wake of several major bilateral air, navy, and army exercises this year: Desert Knight 21 in January, Varuna in April, Shakti in November. Minister Parly will stress France and India's joint commitment to answering the challenges of the Indo-Pacific by bringing together friendly powers to defend the rule of law, offering a positive agenda to the countries of the region, and rejecting all forms of hegemony," the embassy said.
Moreover, the French Minister will detail the recently unveiled EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific that brings a multiplier effect to this comprehensive approach for the region. Upon taking the presidency of the Council of the European Union on January 1, 2022, France will make the Indo-Pacific and India a key priority.
The French Minister's previous visit to India was on September 10, 2020, for the induction ceremony of the first five Rafale aircraft by the Indian Air Force. The Minister will reiterate France's commitment to strengthening India's defence industrial base and its willingness to offer the best of its technology with a high "Make In India" component.
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