Helicopters for cosmos, India and France finalize crucial agreements.

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India and France Decide on Strategic Defence Industrial Cooperation

The partnership between India and France has taken a new turn as they develop a strategic roadmap for defence industrial cooperation. This agrees to identify opportunities in areas such as co-designing, co-development and co-production of defence hardware. French engine maker, Safran, has pledged to transfer 100% technology to construct jet engines in India. The leaders of the countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron, met recently to discuss strengthening their strategic ties. This news comes directly from our Reader Wall source.

Agreements between India and France

The foreign secretary, Vinay Kwatra, reports that the countries have reached agreements in various areas apart from defence and aerospace. The sectors include clean energy research, healthcare cooperation, public administration collaboration and the activation of a five-year validity of Schengen visas for Indian students in France. Tata and Airbus Helicopters will collaborate to produce H125 helicopters in India, making it the first private sector helicopter assembly line under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The production is expected to commence in 2026.

Scope of Defence Cooperation

The scope of this defence cooperation is vast and includes air and space technologies, maritime technologies, land warfare systems, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and platforms, and cyber defence. This forms part of the Horizon 2047 Roadmap agreed upon by the two countries, focusing on defence manufacturing and production. President Macron’s visit aims to solidify this ambitious roadmap, making the visit highly substantial.

Future of Fighter Jet Program

France may soon assist India in designing and developing fighter jet engines. India’s ambassador to France, Jawed Ashraf, mentions that discussions are underway to build a fighter jet engine that meets future requirements. Safran has pledged a 100% technology transfer in areas of design, development, certification, and production. Ashraf acknowledges the complexity of the subject and stresses the continued discussions under the defence industrial roadmap.

Space Partnership between India and France

Space has been a key focus of the strategic partnership between India and France. NewSpace India Limited and Arianespace are finalizing an MoU to collaborate on satellite launches. Further discussions will focus on areas such as space situational awareness, collision avoidance, Earth monitoring, remote sensing, and communications. There is also an understanding between NSIL and Arianespace on optimizing satellite launches, using the best and maximum satellite launch windows.

Bilateral Partnership Discussions

The Indian and French leaders discussed areas of priority and focus in their bilateral partnership and topics of regional and global interest. Meeting six times in 2023 and four times in the past six months, their regular discussions reflect the importance of this partnership. The collaboration has progressed in various domains, including defence, security, nuclear energy, commerce, and economic cooperation. The leaders also discussed cooperation in the Indian Ocean region and the Indo-Pacific region, acknowledging the challenges and opportunities that exist there.

Addressing Major Global Issues

The leaders also addressed major global concerns during their meeting, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, tensions in the Red Sea, and conflicts in Gaza. They emphasized on the need for cooperation to handle these global challenges. The salience of the India-France partnership has increased in today’s complex geopolitical environment, says Kwatra. He also mentioned that 2026 will be celebrated as the India-France year of innovation.

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