Closer cooperation on weapons

mWith Emmanuel Macron's participation as guest of honor at the Republic Day military parade in New Delhi, France and India have underlined their close partnership. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Macron to do this after US President Joe Biden rejected the invitation citing his “tight political calendar”. The cancellation prompted speculation that it may be related to a US investigation into an alleged murder plot against an Indian-born Sikh activist, involving an Indian government employee.

In India, Macron's quick acceptance was seen as a sign of friendship. Macron and Modi agreed to closer cooperation in the fields of defense equipment, space, science and technology and health, Indian Foreign Minister Vinay Kwatra told reporters on Friday.

The Indian company Tata has entered into a partnership with a subsidiary of Airbus to produce helicopters. According to Kwatra, political discussions are very focused on global developments such as in Gaza and the Red Sea.

“Strategic partnership” with India

For the French president, it is about deepening the “strategic partnership” with India. This is Macron's third visit to India. Last year, Modi was the guest of honor at the traditional July 14 military parade in Paris.

These “strategic partnerships” largely consist of arms deals. Last July, India confirmed the purchase of 26 Rafale fighter jets for its new aircraft carrier Vikrant. France competes with the United States which offers the Boeing Super Hornet.

A deal of 5.5 billion euros has been reached, but a final agreement is still pending. France has become very cautious since the collapse of the submarine deal with Australia. That's why Macron came to maintain good relations. France has sold six Scorpene submarines to India. The heads of major defense companies traveled with Macron's delegation.

Ambrose Fernandez

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