India shares ‘historical’ and comprehensive defence ties with France, says Sushma

(UNI) India on Saturday said that its military relation with France is “historical” and elaborate while for its part, the French government said that it considers a “strong India to be in the world’s interest”.

In a crucial meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her visiting counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian here, both sides agreed for enhanced collaboration in fighting terrorism.

“India’s defence relations with France is historical and comprehensive,” Ms Swaraj told reporters at a joint media conference with the visiting dignitary.

She said among other facets, issues like joint manufacturing do figure prominently.

In this endeavour, the Minister mentioned about Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to France in October. “Both sides are committed to give further boost to the ties,” she said.

In a tweet, French ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler wrote: “Very productive meeting between Minister Le Drian and EAM Sushma Swaraj. France considers a strong India to be in the world’s interest. In climate change talks & soon, we hope, at the UN Security Council, India is a responsible power with which we discuss all key issues”.

Meanwhile, in a series of tweets, MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said both sides held detailed discussions on deepening the strategic partnership, through cooperation in Indo Pacific, civil nuclear cooperation, defence and security, space, trade and economic sectors.

Ms Swaraj’s meeting with Foreign Minister of France is the “second bilateral meeting” in six months. These are aimed at continuing the momentum of high-level exchanges, he said.