A strong French presence at Defexpo India 2014
Year after year, the Defexpo India exhibition consolidates its status as a key event for the international defence and security community. Once again this year, the French industry is proud to participate in Defexpo India within a dedicated French pavilion grouping together 18 companies. (see catalogue)
I have personaly witnessed the excellence of bilateral relations between India and France. I would like to point out that such level of cooperation and trust would not be reachable without the existence of shared values. Our mutual attachment to democracy, to the respect of fundamental and human rights, to the rule of law and to the protection of individual and collective freedom is not only the basis of our political partnership, but also the basis of our long standing friendship.
I am delighted with the progress made in the defence field since the establishment in 1998 of the Indo-French strategic partnership, and reflected in the 2006 bilateral Defence agreement. India and France are engaged in a long term strategic partnership. Our defence dialogue between our armed forces are held – like the strategic dialogue – in a spirit of mutual understanding, respect, trust and support, taking into consideration our respective interests.
We have now gone beyond a client-supplier relation. Our cooperation projects should further improve our respective industrial and technological bases in the defence sector and contribute to strengthening the security of both our countries. Our defence cooperation contributes to the reinforcement of India and France’s strategic autonomy. Both our countries attache great importance to this fundamental concept. Our defence cooperation also reflects a great level of trust between us. It is in this spirit, and within a framework marked by the transfer of defence technology and skills, that France wants to assure the continuity of India’s strategic autonomy and sovereignty. These notions lie indeed at the core of our regional and global ambitions.
Not only France considers India as one of its closest partner, but France also sees India as a major actor within the international community, and as a factor of regional stability in the South Asian region. This is why France fully support India’s election as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. This is demonstrated by the numerous high-level visits and events organized between our two countries. In addition to the state-visit of the President of the French Republic Francois Hollande in February 2013, I had the honour to be invited by my indian counterpart, the Defence Minister A.K Anthony, in July 2013, to present to the Indian authorities the main focal points of the new French defence strategy developped in what we refer to as the White Paper on Defence and National Security.
The deepening of our defence cooperation is also reflected in the operational field through the conduct of land (Shakti), naval (Varuna), and air joint exercises (Garuda), the exchange of officers between our military academies or the organization of particular events and exercises during our ships’ ports of call. These activities represent a fantastic opportunity for us to develop and strengthen our joint capacities and interoperability.
Our industrial cooperation is another cornerstone of our partnership. France is willing to initiate joint codevelopment and co-production projects, which once we decide on together, would include, in the future, exporting the equipment produced in third country markets. Similarly, France is ready to share an increasing level of defence technology, in connection with the development of joint projects.
The construction of six Scorpene submarines in India, the selection of the Rafale fighter aircraft and the cooperation between the DRDO and the French company MBDA within the SRSAM (short-range missiles system) project, are all signs of the vitality and ambition of our industrial and technological relations. I am convinced that our industrial cooperation in the defence area is one of the key elements that will enable us to adress global defence and security issues. The French defence industry is among the world’s most successful and innovative ones. This is why I enthusiastically welcome the strong participation of French industry in Defexpo India, symbol of the excellence of the Indo-French relation.
I wish everyone an excellent show.
Jean-Yves Le Drian,
French Minister of Defence