French Pres­i­dent Visit Re-En­er­gises Ties

France is the first coun­try in the West­ern world to have forged a strate­gic part­ner­ship with In­dia de­spite the un­der­cur­rents of In­dia’s nuclear tests in Pokhran in May 1998

SP's Aviation - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By AIR MAR­SHAL B.K. PANDEY (RETD)

Em­manuel Macron, the youngest ever cit­i­zen of France to be elected at the age of 39 as the Pres­i­dent of France, ar­rived in In­dia on March 9 this year on a four-day state visit. This was his first visit to In­dia af­ter he took over his new ap­point­ment in May 2017. He was ac­com­pa­nied by his wife Brigitte MarieClaude Macron, a num­ber of se­nior Min­is­ters from his Cab­i­net and a busi­ness del­e­ga­tion of CEOs of 40 French com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing those from the de­fence sec­tor. The French Pres­i­dent and his team were ac­corded a grand wel­come as, ig­nor­ing all pro­to­col, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, in a dis­play of ex­tra­or­di­nary cor­dial­ity, was present at the Delhi Air­port to re­ceive the state guest and his team when they landed there at 2145 hours.

This visit to In­dia by the Pres­i­dent of France came around nine months af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s visit to France in the first week of June 2017. The first in­ter­ac­tion be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron had taken place in Paris barely a month af­ter the lat­ter had as­sumed charge as the Pres­i­dent. Visit to In­dia by Pres­i­dent Macron in March 2018 also co­in­cided with the twen­ti­eth an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of the strate­gic part­ner­ship be­tween In­dia and France that was signed in 1998 be­tween Pres­i­dent Jac­ques Chirac and Prime Min­is­ter A.B. Va­j­payee. In­ci­den­tally, France is the first coun­try in the West­ern world to have forged a strate­gic Part­ner­ship with In­dia de­spite the un­der­cur­rents of In­dia’s nuclear tests in Pokhran in May 1998 that had met with harsh dis­ap­proval by the United States.

The ma­jor ar­eas for co­op­er­a­tion that con­sti­tute the pil­lars of the strate­gic part­ner­ship be­tween In­dia and France in­clude de­fence, nuclear en­ergy and space ex­plo­ration. In the area of space, In­dia and France al­ready have a well es­tab­lished en­gage­ment and In­dia would like to take it to a new level. Dur­ing this visit, the two na­tions had plans to foray into new ar­eas such as on en­hanc­ing co­op­er­a­tion es­pe­cially in the do­main of mar­itime se­cu­rity and the men­ace of ter­ror­ism.

Soon af­ter his ar­rival in In­dia, Pres­i­dent Macron stated that the visit would open a new era in strate­gic part­ner­ship for the com­ing decades. He said, “Our two democ­ra­cies face com­mon chal­lenges such as ter­ror­ism as also lots of com­mon risks and com­mon threats. But we have to pro­tect this his­tory and the state for free­dom.” Pres­i­dent Macron also af­firmed, “I want my coun­try to be In­dia’s best part­ner in Europe. This is a strong mes­sage. I want In­dian cit­i­zens com­ing to France for study­ing, be­com­ing en­trepreneurs and open­ing start-ups.”

AGREE­MENTS CON­CLUDED

Apart from an ex­haus­tive meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron and Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, del­e­ga­tions from both sides en­gaged in dia­logue at the end of which a to­tal of 14 agree­ments cov­er­ing a num­ber of ar­eas of strate­gic im­por­tance, were for­mally inked and busi­ness deals worth $16

bil­lion fi­nalised. Some the agree­ments in the strate­gic do­main and of military sig­nif­i­cance that have been signed or have been dis­cussed at great length, are as un­der:

signed be­tween Nuclear Power Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia Lim­ited (NPCIL) and EDF of France for the con­struc­tion of the world’s largest nuclear power plant in Jaita­pur. With six re­ac­tors, this fa­cil­ity will be ca­pa­ble of gen­er­at­ing en­ergy of 9.6 Gi­gawatts.

of a full-fledged satel­lite con­stel­la­tion in the mar­itime do­main. The Indo-French co­op­er­a­tion in the area of space is more than five-decades-old. - er­a­tion in the In­dian Ocean. This as­sumes im­por­tance with in­creas­ing ac­tiv­ity by China in the In­dian Ocean.

col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the re­spec­tive armed forces, shar­ing of in­tel­li­gence as well as military bases. ideas on al­liance in cy­ber war­fare and counter-ter­ror­ism. In the do­main of the In­dian air­line in­dus­try, dur­ing the visit of Pres­i­dent Macron, SpiceJet one of the up­com­ing low-cost car­ri­ers, signed a $12.5 bil­lion deal with CFM In­ter­na­tional for the sup­ply of LEAP-1B engines as also a ten-year ser­vices con­tract for an in­com­ing fleet of more than

150 Boe­ing 737 MAX air­craft.

IS­SUES OF REL­E­VANCE FOR THE IAF

Al­though the joint state­ments and other pro­nounce­ments is­sued af­ter ex­ten­sive dis­cus­sions and dia­logue be­tween rep­re­sen­ta­tives of In­dia and France dur­ing the visit by Pres­i­dent Macron, did not specif­i­cally men­tion fi­nal­i­sa­tion of new deals or agree­ments per­tain­ing to the In­dian Air Force (IAF), the visit will un­doubt­edly have a positive im­pact on the var­i­ous Indo-French projects in the regime of the aerospace in­dus­try cur­rently un­der­way. Some of these have been elab­o­rated on in the suc­ceed­ing para­graphs.

RAFALE COM­BAT JETS

In Au­gust 2007, the Min­istry of De­fence had floated a ten­der ob­so­les­cent com­bat plat­forms in the IAF. Af­ter a long and of France was iden­ti­fied by the IAF as the pre­ferred plat­form. Un­for­tu­nately, this ten­der could not go through and was can­celled. In its place, as an emer­gency mea­sure, the NDA govern­ment fi­nalised an In­ter-Govern­ment Agree­ment with France for ` 59,000 crore to equip two squadrons as against six planned ear­lier. While this deal will bring only par­tial re­lief for the com­bat fleet of the IAF, for the In­dian aerospace in­dus­try es­pe­cially in the pri­vate sec­tor, the Off­sets obli­ga­tion at 50 per cent of the value of the con­tract, will trans­late into fresh in­vest­ments in the In­dian aerospace in­dus­try pri­mar­ily 9in the pri­vate sec­tor, to the tune of ` 29,500 crore by Das­sault Avi­a­tion of France.

sat­is­fac­tion the progress in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ac­qui­si­tion com­bat jets for which the IAF has al­ready moved a pro­posal with the MOD in the back­drop of the rapidly dwin­dling strength of air­craft in its com­bat fleet. In­dian sources said a de­ci­sion on in an ugly and un­war­ranted po­lit­i­cal con­tro­versy on ac­count of which, the NDA govern­ment would be hes­i­tant to ei­ther com­mit re­lease in the public do­main any de­ci­sion that may have been taken dur­ing the visit of Pres­i­dent Macron. The French gov­ern In­dia as a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward in the grow­ing ties be­tween In­dia and France.

DEVEL­OP­MENT OF THE KAVERI EN­GINE

a power plant dubbed as Kaveri, for the light com­bat air­craft given the green light to work with the French en­gine man­u­fac­turer Safran, through the Off­sets obli­ga­tions un­der a new en­gine for the LCA. The French en­gine man­u­fac­turer Safran that pro­vides the M88 tur­bo­fan en­gine for the cer­tify and in­te­grate the Kaveri on the LCA be­fore 2020. In all like­li­hood, it will be a com­pletely new en­gine which will carry the old name. Later on, these com­pa­nies will be in­volved in de­vel­op­ing an ad­vanced ver­sion of the Kaveri for the Ad­vanced Medium Com­bat Air­craft (AMCA), a fifth gen­er­a­tion fighter air­craft cur­rently on the draw­ing board. This col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween In­dia and France for the devel­op­ment of power plants for com­bat air­craft is likely to in­flu­ence In­dia’s de­ci­sion on the se­lec­tion of com­bat plat­forms for the IAF and the In­dian Navy in the fu­ture.

IM­POR­TANCE OF THE VISIT

Even though there was con­sid­er­able in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the two sides to pro­mote ven­tures in the regime of aerospace and de­fence in­dus­try as also bil­lions of dol­lars of busi­ness deals were fi­nalised, the visit to In­dia by Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron ought not to be seen as merely a “busi­ness trip”. The ob­jec­tives of the ex­er­cise went far be­yond busi­ness deals and was aimed more at re­in­forc­ing and re-en­er­gis­ing the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship be­tween In­dia and France. The strate­gic part­ner­ship with France will help In­dia achieve its as­pi­ra­tions to play a much larger role in the world and es­pe­cially in the Indo ties with In­dia had reached a new high af­ter the two na­tions signed a key se­cu­rity ac­cord for the In­dian Ocean to counter China’s grow­ing in­flu­ence in the re­gion. Un­der the deal, In­dia and France will open their naval bases to war­ships from each other, a move that is clearly meant to counter China’s men­ac­ing ter­ri­to­rial am­bi­tions.

The strate­gic part­ner­ship with France will help In­dia achieve its as­pi­ra­tions to play a much larger role in the world and es­pe­cially in the Indo-Pa­cific Re­gion

RE-EN­ER­GIS­ING TIES: PRIME MIN­IS­TER NAREN­DRA MODI WITH PRES­I­DENT OF THE FRENCH REPUB­LIC EM­MANUEL MACRON IN NEW DELHI

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