On Monday, October 11, India and France convened the fifth session of the Indo-French maritime cooperation dialogue in Paris. Pankaj Saran, India’s Deputy National Security Adviser, and M Marcel Escure, France’s Ambassador for Regional Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Zone held in-depth discussions to bolster strategic partnership between the two countries.

The Indo-French dialogue on marine cooperation helped enhance the strategic connection between France and India, stated the French embassy in India. It was built on frequent and constructive discussions between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron, the embassy added. The fifth session provided an opportunity to build and strengthen Indo-French maritime security and safety cooperation projects, particularly through frequent exchanges and the expansion of fleets’ connections, while underlining the Indo-Pacific region’s common commitment, the statement read as reported by news agency ANI.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), and the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) are frameworks of regional forums that help improve Indo-French maritime cooperation. There has been tremendous development in India-France maritime security cooperation in recent years, with a focus on the Indian Ocean. With its expanding economic, marine military, and strategic goals in the Indo-Pacific region, India is eager to develop connections with countries throughout the area. Recognizing geopolitical trends, France has begun to emphasise its identity as an Indo-Pacific nation and willingness to enhance its partnerships with the region’s major players, according to a report by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA). Of late, the Indian Ocean has emerged as a hot topic in recent Indo-French bilateral talks, as both nations seek to broaden their long-standing strategic alliance to the marine domain, the report stated.

INS Tabar completes Indo-France partnership exercise

Meanwhile, earlier in the month of July, the Indo-French collaboration exercise was completed by the Indian Navy Ship, Tabar. Following INS Tabar’s port visit to Brest, the maritime partnership exercise with the French naval frigate FNS Aquitaine had taken place in the Bay of Biscay. INS Tabar was paired with an NH 90 helicopter from FNS Aquitaine and four Rafale fighters from the French Navy for the collaboration exercise. Surface manoeuvres, replenishment at sea approach, firing on target, vertical replenishment, and cross-deck action were all carried out throughout the event, according to a statement by the Indian Navy.