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SOURCE: ANI

India and France agreed to adopt the Defence Industrial Roadmap and explore opportunities for partnership in the defence industrial sector and prioritise co-designing, co-development and co-production, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday.

In a press briefing regarding French President Emmanuel Macron’s ongoing state visit to India, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said that both countries agreed upon the production and manufacturing to harness the compatibilities and competencies to further strengthen defence cooperation.

“The two countries have agreed to adopt a defence production roadmap.”

“Now, the name itself is very clear that the focus and the priority of defence cooperation through this roadmap is to actually identify opportunities for partnership in the defence industrial sector that prioritize co-designing, co-development, coproduction with the whole, and also building the defence supply chains between the two countries,” he said.

He added, “In terms of the range of domains, including the technology space that the industrial roadmap will aim to achieve, it would include both air and space technologies, maritime technology, including the underwater domain awareness. 

It’s a new space which is coming up naturally, the equipment and the systems related to the land warfare, and also robotics and artificial intelligence as also autonomous vehicles and platforms, and cyber defence.

“French President Emmanuel Macron is on a visit to India and was also the Chief Guest in the Republic Day Parade today.z

Kwatra also described the details of the third visit of the French President to India and shared that in this visit President Emmanuel Macron is accompanied by a 40-member delegation.

He said, “French President is accompanied by a 40-member strong delegation. The delegation includes three ministers, ministers of foreign affairs, defence and culture.

As we speak, the external affairs minister is meeting his French counterpart, the newly appointed foreign Minister of France Stephane Sejourne…This is the 6th time that a French leader has come for India’s Republic Day, the maximum for any country.

“When asked about the Safran-India Shakti jet engines deal, the Indian envoy to France, Jawed Ashraf informed that the issue has always been a discussion between the two leaders and is part of the defence industry roadmap.

He said, “This is a subject of ongoing discussions… Now, the issue is really about arriving at a set of specifications that comply with our future fighter jet requirements. 

So this always features in the conversation between the President and the Prime Minister, because what we are looking for is not just a manufacturing transfer of technology, which essentially keeps you going with the same crutches that you have been going on for the last six decades but to work in the actual design phase, metallurgical aspects, etc.”

Envoy Jawed Ashraf added, “So Safran is fully willing to do it with 100 per cent transfer of technology in design development, certification, production and so on and so forth.

But it’s obviously a very complex subject, and it has to fit in with the overall future requirements. 

So these discussions will continue to take place, and that’s also part of the defence industry roadmap.”Earlier in the day, a 95-member marching contingent and a 33-member band contingent from France participated in the 75th Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday expressed his thanks for the “great honour for France” as his country’s troops and aircraft are invited to march in the 75th Republic Parade of India.”A great honor for France. 

Thank you, India,” posted Marcron on X as Kartavya Path witnessed a march past by a combined band and marching contingent of the French Armed Forces.

The marching members were drawn from the French Foreign Legion, a well-known and unique corps of about 10,000 men from around the world, including India, who marched on the Kartavya Path.

This came a few months after Indian troops and aircraft paraded in Paris for the 2023 Bastille Day.

Macron, who arrived in India on Thursday in Jaipur held a bilateral discussion with Prime Minister Modi.

PM Modi said that it is a matter of great pride that the French President was participating in the 75th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.