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Rafale to Exercise Garuda: Indo-French Defence Ties Intensify

In a testament to the deepening ties between India and France, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan’s official visit to France underscores the commitment to bolster multilevel defence cooperation. The visit not only strengthens governmental bonds but also fosters deeper ties between the defense industries of both nations.

Reciprocal Diplomatic Exchanges

The recent visit by General Chauhan follows a series of reciprocal diplomatic exchanges between India and France. Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi graced the French National Day in July 2023, reciprocated by President Emmanuel Macron’s presence at India’s Republic Day earlier this year.

Engagement with French Leadership

During his visit, General Chauhan engaged with senior civil and military leadership in France, including his counterpart, CDS General Thierry Burkhard. Additionally, he explored collaborations with key institutions such as the National Institute for Higher Defence Studies and the Director General of Armament. General Chauhan also visited the French Space Command, highlighting the evolving nature of defence cooperation into the realm of space exploration.

Strategic Defence Partnerships

India’s status as the largest importer of French arms underscores the burgeoning partnership between the two nations. With India’s Air Force already utilizing Rafale fighter jets and plans to acquire Rafale Marines for naval operations, collaborations extend to submarine acquisitions and engine development projects. Collaborative efforts between Safran Group and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signify a broader spectrum of industrial cooperation.

Expansion into Space and Maritime Domains

The strategic collaboration between India and France extends beyond terrestrial borders, encompassing space exploration and maritime security. Initiatives such as the Strategic Space Dialogue and joint surveillance missions in the Southwest Indian Ocean reflect shared objectives in securing vital sea lanes of communication.

Interoperability and Joint Exercises

The camaraderie between Indian and French defence forces is exemplified through joint exercises and training programs. Exercises like MILAN-24 and upcoming bilateral drills in Meghalaya underscore the commitment to enhancing counter-terrorism capabilities. Moreover, the biennial Exercise Garuda and bilateral drill Exercise Varuna demonstrate efforts to improve interoperability and operational synergy across different domains.

As defence ties between India and France continue to evolve, the trajectory of collaboration is poised for further expansion. With a shared vision of regional stability and global security, both nations are committed to deepening their strategic partnership across a spectrum of defence capabilities.

In conclusion, General Chauhan’s visit to France epitomizes the robust Indo-French defence relationship, marking a significant milestone in the journey towards greater cooperation and synergy in the realms of security and defence.

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