India and France have solidified a strategic roadmap for defence collaboration, outlining plans for joint development and production of crucial military hardware and platforms. The partnership aims to foster technological cooperation across various domains such as space, land warfare, cyberspace, and artificial intelligence. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, disclosing outcomes from discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in Jaipur, additionally highlighted the collaboration between the Tatas and Airbus Helicopters. They have partnered to manufacture civil H125 helicopters while setting up a final assembly line in India, incorporating substantial indigenous components.
“The two countries have agreed to adopt a defenceproduction roadmap. Now, the name itself is very clear that the focus and the priority of defence cooperation through this roadmap is to actually identify opportunities for partnership in the defence industrial sector that prioritiseco-designing, co-development, coproduction with the whole, and also building the defence supply chains between the two countries,” he said.
During a media briefing on Friday, Kwatra stated that the defence industrial roadmap between India and France would also enable collaboration in fields such as robotics, autonomous vehicles, and cyber defence. He informed the media about signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between New Space India Ltd and France’s Arianespace, solidifying cooperation in satellite launches.
“In terms of the range of domains, including the technology space that the industrial roadmap will aim to achieve, it would include both air and space technologies, maritime technology, including the underwater domain awareness. Itis a new space which is coming up naturally, the equipment and the systems related to the land warfare, and also robotics and artificial intelligence as also autonomous vehicles and platforms, and cyber defence,“ he added.
However, the visit did not see any announcement on the purchase of Rafale marine aircraft or Scorpene submarines by India. “The visits are not focused on individual transactions,” Kwatra said.
Macron began his two-day journey in India with a visit to Jaipur. The French President was the chief guest during Friday’s Republic Day celebrations at Kartavya Path in New Delhi. This is the sixth time that a French leader has come to India for Republic Day, the maximum for any country.