With French President Emmanuel Macron’s commitment to helping Modi’s India establish an advanced military-industrial complex, the 36th India-France dialogue will mark progress today.
New Delhi: Emmanuel Bonne, the French president’s visiting diplomatic advisor, will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi today as part of a strategic conversation with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval aimed at enlisting France as a key partner in India’s “Make in India” campaign to produce long-range submarines and much-needed aircraft engines.
This afternoon’s 36th India-France Strategic Dialogue will pave the way for additional high-level discussions in March. Diplomatic advisor Bonne will see Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
The Modi government is keeping quiet about the conversation. Still, India is becoming more self-sufficient in hardware platforms and weaponry with the aid of important friends like France. In the face of growing militarization by China as a once-important supplier, Russia was entangled in the Ukraine War.
In addition to seeking a 100 percent technology transfer for its indigenous twin-engine fighter aircraft, India is also developing and building next-generation, highly potent military and civilian engines for fighter and transport platforms. The Tata Group and Airbus already have a manufacturing agreement for the C295 tactical transport aircraft in Vadodara, Gujarat. In a partnership with France, this line will be extended into the production of further military and civilian aircraft.
India is looking to France to continue the manufacturing line at Mumbai dockyards with diesel attack submarines retrofitted with an indigenous air-independent propulsion (AIP) system for long endurance since the Kalveri (French Scorpene) class submarine line will deliver its final submarine this year.
While progress is anticipated this year with France on long-range submarines and aircraft engines, the two strategic allies will also talk about the Indo-Pacific because France is prepared to assist India with ocean bed mapping and underwater drones and sensors. The Indian Ocean will be the new frontier. Given the PLA’s aggressiveness in the Indo-Pacific and its quickly growing warship and nuclear submarine force, India and its allies must be ready for any emergency. To secure maritime domain awareness and security from the east coast of Africa to the far Pacific, the two allies have formed a trilateral grouping with the UAE. Another important area where France and India have partnered to share knowledge is space to halt China’s rapid technological advancements.
Doval and Bonne will also discuss the increased radicalization in the area, notably in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region, following the establishment of the Taliban. They will also discuss Pakistani terrorism targeting India. The Lashkar-e-Tayebba (LeT) gang, which has its basis in Pakistan, was responsible for the twin terrorist assaults in Rajouri this month, targeting innocent minority Hindus. The terrorist strikes made it evident that banned organizations like Jaish-e-Mohammed and LeT are growing under the deep Pakistani state, intending to attack India, specifically Jammu and Kashmir. India was able to get several terrorists with ties to Pakistan blocked by the 1267 Sanctions Committee thanks to assistance from important allies like France and the US, despite China consistently supporting Islamabad. In addition, at Pakistan’s request, France and the US were the two nations that stopped China from designating Indian engineers operating in Afghanistan as terrorists.
During the strategic meeting, Doval will brief Bonne on the PLA stance along the 3488-kilometre Line of Actual Control (LAC). The two leaders will also discuss bringing Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table to end the crisis, which began in February 2022.