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India, France to increase defence ties

Ministers welcome the upcoming bilateral exercise between armies of the two countries

Gulf News

New Delhi: India and France on Friday agreed to increase their cooperation in high technology areas in defence that involve joint research and development and transfer of technology.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, whose three-day official visit ends on Saturday, presented France’s new white paper on national security to Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

According to a joint statement, Antony and Le Drian had “detailed and useful” talks on regional and international security challenges of mutual interest.

They noted that the range of defence exchanges was being steadily enhanced taking account of respective security interests.

The two ministers welcomed the upcoming bilateral exercise ‘Shakti’ in September 2013 in France between the armies of the two countries.

The navies of both countries are working towards finalising the schedule for the conduct of exercise “Varuna” off the coast of India and the next air force exercise “Garuda” during the first half of 2014.

The two ministers noted that defence cooperation was an important pillar of the strategic partnership between both countries and was mutually beneficial.

The ministers tasked the High Committee on Defence Cooperation (HCDC), which is scheduled to meet in France in October, to finalise practical measures to expand and deepen the bilateral partnership in defence.

The French minister also conveyed that on the 100th anniversary of World War I, France would pay tribute to Indian soldiers killed in France during the war.

The ministers exchanged views on issues relating to UN peace keeping operations and maritime security.