Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman visited France for the first India-France Ministerial level annual defence dialogue with her French counterpart, the Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms Florence Parly. During her visit, Smt Sitharaman also interacted with CEOs of French defence industry and visited a defence manufacturing site.
During the defence dialogue held on October 11, 2018 in Paris, the two Ministers comprehensively reviewed the entire gamut of the bilateral defence cooperation, which is a key pillar of the India-France Strategic Partnership. They also exchanged views on contemporary regional and international developments of mutual interest.
Both sides discussed ways to deepen defence related official as well as operational level interactions. It was agreed to expand the scope and complexity of the regular joint exercises (SHAKTI, VARUNA and GARUDA) in the future.
Recognising that India-France partnership in the Indian Ocean Region is important for preserving and promoting the common strategic and security interests, both the Ministers noted the continuing implementation of the "Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region".
During the visit, Raksha Mantri also addressed a select audience on the topic 'India-France Defence Engagement in a Multi-polar World' at the L'Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l'École Militaire (IRSEM)[French Military College's Institute for Strategic Research], a well-known think-tank for military and strategic affairs based in Paris.
The Minister also called on the Prime Minister of the French Republic, Mr Edouard Philippe and discussed issues of bilateral cooperation.
In her interaction with the top leaders of the French defence industry, Raksha Mantri urged them to undertake and expand their defence manufacturing in India under the Make in India initiative as well as promote defence technology and R&D cooperation with Indian stakeholders such as Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bharat Earth Movers Limited, Goa Shipyard Limited, Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited etc.