New Delhi, Dec 17: French Defence Minister Florence Parly on Friday said that France is ready to provide additional Rafale jets to India if a demand for the same is shown by the country.
Parly gave this statement ahead of the 3rd Annual Defence Dialogue with her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh.
The French Minister is in a visit to India to strengthen Indo-French strategic and defence ties. In an interview with the news agency ANI, she was quoted saying, “We are open and ready to provide any other Rafale jets if that is India’s decision,”
“We are ready to answer any additional needs or requests that could be made by India. We know that an aircraft carrier will soon be delivered. Aircraft are needed.” She added.
The discussion between the Defence Ministers of both the countries will also cover aspects of Indo-France industrial and technological partnership, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ vision.
Singh and Parly might also engage in discussions of counter-terrorism cooperation and wide-ranging Indo-French defence cooperation, including operational defence cooperation, particularly maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.
Several Indo-Pacific joint exercises, accompanied by defence-related ‘Make in India’ projects were witnessed by India and France this year. These included Rafale deliveries to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Scorpène-class submarines to the Indian Navy.
France, as promised, has delivered as many as 26 Dassault Rafale multirole fighter jets to India this year. Noting the timely deliveries, the French Defence Minister said that the rest of the ten twin-engine aircraft will also be delivered on time despite the prevailing pandemic.