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France ready to send additional Rafale jets to India

France is prepared to offer additional Rafale fighter jets to India if and when a request is made, French defence minister Florence Parly said on Friday, ahead of the crucial 3rd Annual Defence Dialogue with her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh.

The French minister, who is visiting India to bolster Indo-French strategic and defence ties, was cited by the media as stating, “We are open and ready to deliver any further Rafale jets if that is India’s option.” “We are prepared to respond to any further needs or requests that India may have.” We already know that an aircraft carrier is on its way. Airplanes are required.”

Parly was speaking at the Ananta Aspen Center’s “How does France engage with India to protect a rules-based Indo-Pacific region?” event. Dr. Mohan Kumar, head of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries and former Indian Ambassador to France, led the discussion.

The meetings today between defence minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly are anticipated to focus on the Indo-French industrial and technology relationship, which is in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme. The talks will also include areas of counter-terrorism cooperation and broad Indo-French defence cooperation, including operational defence cooperation, particularly maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, according to sources acquainted with the events.

This year saw numerous large Indo-French joint exercises, as well as the effective implementation of defence-related ‘Make in India’ initiatives, such as the delivery of Rafale fighter jets to the Indian Air Force and Scorpène-class submarines to the Indian Navy.

This year, India received up to 26 Dassault Rafale multirole fighter jets, as promised by France. Despite the ongoing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, the French defence minister stated that the remainder of the ten twin-engine aircraft will be delivered on schedule.

Florence Parly’s visit to India, according to the French embassy, underscores France’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific and the importance of India in French strategy.

The French Minister will also discuss the EU Strategy for Indo-Pacific Cooperation, which has a multiplier effect on this holistic approach for the area. The Indo-Pacific and India will be a top priority for France when it assumes the presidency of the Council of the European Union on January 1, 2022, according to the embassy.