Visit of Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister of Defence

At the invitation of the Hon’ble Minister of Defence, Shri A.K Antony, the French Minister of Defence, H.E. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, will pay his second visit to India, from 25th to 27th July, 2013, with stops in Delhi and Gwalior.

This visit is a follow-up of the State visit of the President of the French Republic, H.E. Mr François Hollande, in February 2013, and will be an opportunity to demonstrate the importance France attaches to partnering with India, as well as the Indian army.

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Visit of Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister of Defence

On 26th July, after laying a wreath at the “Amar Jawan Jyoti”, Mr Le Drian will meet Shri A.K. Antony to discuss matters of bilateral interest and continue these talks over an official dinner hosted by his Indian counterpart.

At the invitation of the Institute for Defence and Security Analyses (IDSA), Minister Le Drian will present the French White Paper on Defence and National Security, released in April 2013 by President Hollande, deliver a lecture on “Indo-French Defence Partnership: the Choice of Strategic Autonomy”.

During this visit, Minister Le Drian will also meet industrialists of the defence sector, members of the French community, and exchange views on global threats and current international issues with high-profile Indian researchers and scholars, as well as Members of Parliament.

On 27th July, he will visit Air Force Station, Gwalior, for a briefing on the Indian Mirage 2000 squadrons and interaction with pilots, officers and technicians who fly and maintain the fleet.

Thereafter, Mr Le Drian will conclude his visit with a private tour of the historical sites of the city of Gwalior, which keeps alive the memory of French officers who, 200 years ago, contributed to the development of the armed forces of Gwalior’s erstwhile rulers.

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Minister of Defence with the french troops in Sahel

The Indo-French strategic partnership
France and India enjoy an exceptionally warm relationship, which is the fruit of deep affinities and the unwavering trust between our two countries. An intense cooperation was established in areas as sensitive as defence, security and nuclear energy under the strategic partnership signed in 1998. Moreover, French companies are among the topmost investors in India: with a consolidated stock of more than 18 billion dollars in 2013, French companies are present all over India with corporate headquarters, production units, as well as important research and development or innovation centres, in a wide range of sectors. More investments are expected soon.

During his visit in February 2013, President François Hollande devoted his first State visit in Asia to India. This event epitomised the importance he attached to both the strategic partnership between France and India and the economic and cultural/education relations between the two countries. The French authorities were most touched by the heartfelt words of the Indian authorities, President Pranab Mukherjee regarding France as “one of India’s oldest, closest and most reliable partners”.

Cooperation between France and India is indeed a longstanding one. In aerospace, from the Toofan supplied in 1953, the Mystère IV, the naval Alizé, the Jaguar manufactured under license by HAL, to the Mirage 2000, the relationship between India and France has proven its robustness and longevity for more than half a century. French aircraft has contributed proudly to India’s defence. Other defence sectors also have deep roots: missiles, helicopters, submarines, high end defence technology, and a range of promising cooperation and co-development of new weapons systems can be foreseen for the future, and will trigger unprecedented levels of technological and industrial cooperation. It will cement our defence relationship for the decades to come. France and India co-develop major weapons systems and, over the years, we have moved from a commercial relation to co-development and co-production, with transfer of technology.

The French White Paper on Defence and National Security
The national security strategy will help France to ward off risks and threats, direct or indirect, likely to endanger the life of the nation. This concept, introduced by the 2008 White Paper and enshrined in law in 2009, has been confirmed. It is grounded in recognising the continuity of the internal and external threats menacing France, its territory, population and security interests. It enables France to assess all the different dimensions of these threats and organise its response to them. Deterrence and military interventions are two cornerstones of our strategy.

The level of threat and the climate of uncertainty characterising our international environment since 2008 have not diminished. Our analysis must now take three phenomena into consideration: threats related to power, risks related to weakness, threats and risks intensified by globalisation.

The White Paper clearly sets forth the strategic priorities resulting from our duty to protect French citizens, on the one hand, and assume our international responsibilities, on the other: protecting the national territory and French nationals abroad; guaranteeing the security of Europe and the North Atlantic space, with our partners and allies; stabilising Europe’s near environment, with our partners and allies; and contributing to peace and international security in the world, including Africa, Middle East, Indian Ocean, and beyond.

Capitalising both on France’s full engagement in NATO and the pragmatic revitalisation of the European defence policy, the White Paper remodels general strategy and military strategy to build a new armed forces model, with a specific emphasis on cyber defence and intelligence.

Useful Links:
- The French White Paper on Defence and National Security
- Operation SERVAL in Mali

Last modified on 26/07/2013

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