PARIS: Defence minister Rajnath Singh concluded the annual India-France Defence Dialogue with French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly in Paris, with enhanced strategic ties on top of his agenda.
Singh was received by a military guard of honour at Hotel de Brienne, the headquarters of the French Armed Forces ministry in Paris, on Tuesday night.
“This marks a new milestone in the Indo-French strategic partnership and indeed a new high in the bilateral defence cooperation. Such achievements encourage us to do more and that will be on my agenda when I meet minister Parly”, Singh said.
The minister is on a three-day visit to France, which will cover a tour of a facility owned by French multinational Safran, the company which produces the engines for the Rafale fighter jets on Wednesday morning.
Singh will conclude his tour with a meeting with captains of French business and industry around the merits of the Make in India initiative.
He will also extend a formal invitation for them to participate in the DefExpo to be held in Lucknow from February 5 to 8, 2020.
Singh had kick-started his busy schedule with a meeting at Elysee Palace with President Emmanuel Macron for talks described as a warm and productive, as both leaders resolved to take the India-France relationship to a higher level.
He was then flown for Merignac Airport in the nearby town of Bordeaux for a grand induction ceremony planned for the first of 36 Rafale combat jets, which are all scheduled to be delivered to India by around May 2022.
Singh has said he expects the first 18 aircraft to be delivered by February 2021, with the remaining expected by April-May 2022.
With inputs from PTI