India and France on Friday decided to expand military cooperation in the strategically key Indo-Pacific region, besides resolving to ramp up the overall defence and security ties, reports The Hindu.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her French counterpart, Florence Parly, held extensive talks covering a variety of issues, including the regional security situation, joint development of defence platforms and expansion of military-to-military ties.
At their delegation-level talks, the two sides also agreed to expand counter-terror cooperation, and said a lot more could be done in the maritime sphere, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, where China was trying to expand its footprint, official sources said. Ms. Parly described her interaction with Ms. Sitharaman as “excellent”.
The sources said the French side explored the possibility of a follow-on order of additional Rafale fighter jets being placed by India.
India had signed a deal with France for the supply of 36 Rafale jets last year and the IAF was pitching for procuring another fleet of 36.
In a statement, the defence ministry said the ministers reviewed ongoing initiatives to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation further as a key pillar of the strategic partnership between the two countries.