After the successful conclusion of the India-France Air Force exercise over the Rajasthan sector, New Delhi and Paris will step up their strategic cooperation by conducting joint surveillance and ocean mapping operations over the Mozambique Channel, Mauritius, and the South-West Indian Ocean from November 9 to 11. These operations will be carried out by the Indian Navy’s Boeing P 8 I and the French Navy’s Falcon 50.
With both key allies dedicated to fighting piracy, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and the presence of foreign powers on Africa’s eastern shoreline as part of maritime security cooperation, the coordinated surveillance will go beyond ocean bed mapping.
The Indian and French surveillance aircraft will be conducting the ocean bed mapping and area patrol around French Reunion Islands for the second time this year, while the Chinese surveillance, ballistic missile tracking ship Yuan Wang 6 is currently located around 90 degree East Ridge of the Indian Ocean south of Indonesia. On the eastern coast of Africa, the coordinated surveillance was first conducted in March 2022.
Sebastian Lecornu, the French Minister of Defense, will visit India for two days starting on November 28 to continue the strategic bilateral momentum between the two allies. While there, he will meet with Rajnath Singh, the Indian Defense Minister, and other top Modi government officials.
Minister Lecornu will meet with the Prime Minister, the External Affairs Minister, and the National Security Advisor due to the importance that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays to France, which is matched by the dedication of French President Emmanuel Macron.
It has been confirmed that NSA Ajit Doval will meet with Emmanuel Bonne, the diplomatic assistant to French President Macron, in India during the first week of January 2023.
The two nations have strong defence connections, with France agreeing to work with India to jointly produce aeroplanes, missiles, submarines, and aircraft engines through the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” path with Indian private sector involvement. In addition to being prepared to work with India to jointly design, develop, and produce long-range submarines and missiles, France is also prepared to develop and produce higher thrust aircraft engines with Safran as the key partner.
When it comes to terrorism and religious fundamentalism, India and France are on the same page. Paris is vehemently opposed to Pakistan’s use of fifth columnists to target India.
Together with the US, the two nations closely coordinate in the UN Security Council, and the 1267 Committee has repeatedly named terrorists with bases in Pakistan for international designation. The fact that Pakistan utilises China to block any such action in the 1267 sanction committee is of great concern to both nations.