Prime Minister Narendra Modi To Visit Paris, Strengthening India-France Bilateral Relations

Narendra Modi
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New Delhi, 11th July 2023: In a remarkable demonstration of the strong bilateral relations between India and France, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to undertake a visit to Paris on July 13-14.
During his visit, the Prime Minister will be the esteemed Guest of Honour at France’s renowned Bastille Day Parade, a prestigious event that showcases the rich history and military prowess of France.
Given France’s longstanding role as a crucial defence partner for India, PM Modi’s visit holds great significance, with the expectation of several important agreements being announced.
Among the anticipated agreements is the procurement of 26 Rafale-M aircraft for the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, as well as a submarine deal.

India has been eagerly awaiting the acquisition of aircraft for the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. While both the F/A 18 Super Hornets and Rafale M were shortlisted for this role, it appears that the Rafale M has emerged as the final choice.
Sources suggest that the Defence Procurement Board approved this decision just a few days ago.
Furthermore, it is expected that India will procure 26 naval versions of the Rafale aircraft, including 4 trainer aircraft. The official announcement of this procurement is anticipated during the Prime Minister’s visit to France.
The Acceptance of Necessity (AON) for this procurement is expected to be granted in a Defence Acquisition Council meeting shortly after the Defense Minister’s return to the country.

As per an officer’s statement, there is a requirement for aircraft on our aircraft carrier. Although India is currently engaged in the development of the Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter program, it will inevitably require time. Therefore, a decision had to be made to select either the F/A 18 Super Hornets or the Rafale-M to fulfil the immediate need.

The Prime Minister’s recent visit to the US has nearly confirmed the final choice, but the official announcement is expected to take place now.

Another significant aspect of the visit is the submarine project, wherein the Navy is expected to acquire three Scorpene-class submarines under the repeat clause as part of Project 75. This addition will complement the existing six Scorpene-class submarines built in collaboration with the state-run Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).
This acquisition will further support India’s aspiration to construct additional submarines, considering the regional challenges posed by neighbouring countries, given the program delays that have resulted in India’s current submarine shortfall.

In addition to these critical deals, there is a potential agreement in the pipeline for aircraft engines. Both countries are expected to collaborate on the development of engines to power India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). There is also speculation regarding discussions on the Jaitapur nuclear power plant project.

The Indian Armed Forces will proudly march alongside their French counterparts during the parade in France, with a tri-services contingent consisting of 269 members. The armies of both nations have been engaged in joint exercises and have shared their experiences over the years, solidifying India and France as reliable defence partners.
The Indian Army contingent, led by Captain Aman Jagtap, comprises 77 marching personnel and 38 members of the Band. Commander Vrat Baghel assumes leadership of the Indian Navy contingent, while Squadron Leader Sindhu Reddy takes charge of the Indian Air Force contingent. The parade will also feature the Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force during the flypast.