India and Romania have signed a Defence Cooperation Agreement following a bilateral meeting between the European country’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Simona Cojocaru, with Indian counterpart Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane on 28 March in New Delhi. The signing of the first defence agreement assumes significance as it lays the foundation of the cooperation between the armed forces and give further impetus to the industrial cooperation activities, including forging joint ventures for the co-development and co-production military equipment.
Speaking to Nitin Gokhale, Editor-in-Chief, BharatShakti.in, State Secretary and Chief of the Department for Defence Policy, Planning and International Relations of Romania, Simona Cojocaru said, “the agreement will foster the cooperation in a large variety of areas such as – training, defence equipment, technical assistance, military medicine, science, technology, research and development”.
India Important Partner in Indo-Pacific Region
Answering the specific question of what Romania can bring to the table when it comes to defence cooperation, she said, “India is one of our important partners in the Indo-Pacific region, and we are committed to continue and enhance a bilateral relationship built on common interest, mutual trust and respect, and to deepen our bilateral ties for our common benefit. We share common interests regarding regional and global stability, especially in the context of the new security challenges, the fight against terrorism and the global crisis”.
“Maritime security is of great importance for us, our countries developing new ways to counter the maritime threats. The consultations on security and defence are important steps forward, and we are interested in exchanging views on cyber defence, communication, and information,” she added.
When asked what interest does Romania have in the Indo-Pacific? Does it converge with India’s vision? She said, “the Indo-Pacific region is of strategic relevance and India, also as an important partner of the EU in defending a rules-based international order and fundamental democratic values, has a key role for global stability and economy. Romania has a special interest in enhancing the bilateral dialogues with the states in the region, as well as in the framework of the EU Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, with a focus on our country’s areas of expertise, such as cyber-security, countering disinformation and international law”.
“Romania, as a member state of the European Union, acts on the basis and for the capitalization of the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, adopted in 2021, bringing a solid contribution to its implementation. In this context, we strongly believe that our involvement should be results-oriented. Moreover, we share the view that our actions should be calibrated to the expectations of our partners in the region. We believe that, especially in the current security context, defending the rules-based order through a solidarity approach between the two regions is fundamental; she further observed and concluded by saying that “promoting a free, open, rules-based and secure environment in the Indo-Pacific is a common goal we share with India”.
Romanian Defence Companies Can Join Hands with Indian Industry
While answering the question of will Romanian defence companies be interested in making in India, she categorically said that “Romanian Government is the main stakeholder of ROMARM, IAR Brasov, IAR Craiova, ROMAERO and IOR defence companies. Their remit is quite broad, covering armaments (small arms, artillery systems, etc.), ammunition (including artillery), aircraft MRO, armoured vehicles, and optical systems. Romanian defence companies can cooperate with Indian companies based on the commercial agreement for coproduction, sublicense production or joint venture”.
“All those industrial cooperation activities can be implemented by a commercial vehicle. At this moment, there are good relations between Romanian private defence companies like Aerostar for Mig-21 maintenance activities,” she said.
Shedding light on the contours of the Defence Cooperation Agreement, Deputy Minister of Defence Simona Cojocaru said, “once the agreement will enter into force, both parties will monitor, manage and implement the Agreement through a Joint Committee on Defense Cooperation with adequate representation of all stakeholders, that will periodically meet alternatively in Romania and India”.
“It is important to underline that specific activities of cooperation in the spheres set forth in the agreement shall be mutually determined by both Parties, according to their mutual interests and needs of cooperation,” she said.