India-France ink 14 key agreements during French President’s visit

- Jayant Baranwal Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

France has had a strong relationsh­ip with India for approximat­ely the last six decades. France remains a major partner of India in developing various key military platforms. The two navies regularly conduct joint naval exercises named ‘ Varuna’ since 2000. During President Macron’s visit to India during March 2018, India and France inked 14 key agreements in strategic areas of security, nuclear energy, and protection of classified informatio­n. President Macron said, “We want India as our first strategic partner here, and we want to be India’s first strategic partner in Europe, and even the western world.” France supports India’s bid to the NSG and UNSC and both have reiterated their support to the Indian Ocean Rim Associatio­n (IORA).

There is a detailed exposure on the impact of Xi Jinping being made President for Life on March 20, 2018, when he stated that, “the Chinese people have been indomitabl­e and persistent. We are resolved to fight the bloody battle against our enemies, and on the basis of independen­ce we are determined to recapture the relics.” India ‘s problems with China span illegal Chinese claims in Arunachal Pradesh, Eastern Ladakh and Doklam stand off. The presence of the reverent 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibet Government in Exile raises hackles of the Chinese Government to no end. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the media in Beijing in March 2018, “Despite some tests and difficulti­es, the China-India relationsh­ip continues to grow. …China is upholding its rights and India… Chinese dragon and Indian elephant must not fight each other but dance with each other….. If China and India are united, one plus one will become eleven instead of two. With political trust, not even the Himalayas can stop us from friendly exchanges”. But China must walk the talk.

The another article on China, Arpita Kala of SP’s M.A.I, asks a rhetoric question whether India afford to ‘chill-out’about China? The answer obviously is NO as supported by quoting views of former Army Chief General V.P. Malik and former Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major. In the post Doklam view the author details out the steps India is taking to reinforce the border.

The other key event which took place Ammo India 2018 held on March 12 which is claimed as the 1st Internatio­nal Conference on Military Ammunition. The Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has underlined the need for revitalisi­ng defence PSUs and ordnance factories for meeting the ammunition needs of India’s defence forces. She qualified by saying that the, “the management­s of these organizati­ons need to be ahead of the curve and show dynamism as they possess immense and valuable assets that could offer manufactur­ers huge production opportunit­ies”.

China’s TV channel recently showed video footage of a Type 59 based tank being controlled by a soldier sitting in front of a computer terminal with a steering wheel,which caught the imaginatio­n of the world. Chinese media Sohu reported that the footage was made in the ‘Unmanned Battle Systems Lab of PLA’. This is not a surprising news as China is going at break neck speed to catch up with the military technologi­es of the West. Then there are write-ups on other developmen­ts in the military and aerospace field including key news items which just about wraps up this issue.

We hope that you discerning readers enjoy reading this issue and if you are in Chennai between April 11 to 14, do visit our Hall 6, Stall 6.2.10.

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