Paris, October 11: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman embarked on a three-day visit to France on October 10. Today she will meet her French counterpart Florence Parly to strengthen defence ties between the two countries. Both the leaders will also discuss critical global issues of mutual interest. The defence minister will also take stock of the progress in the supply of 36 Rafale jets by Dassault Aviation. There are also reports that Sitharaman is likely to visit the facility where the jets are being manufactured. Rafale Deal: Rahul Gandhi Led Congress To Constitute Team To Hold Nationwide Press Conferences Over The Deal
India also wants to strengthen the on-going defence manufacturing partnership with the aim of transfer of technology. India’s Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited has a partnership with French Naval Group for manufacturing of the Scorpene submarine through the transfer of technology model. The defence minister will also discuss the supply of French Safran M88 military jet engine for Tejas Light Combat Aircraft with Parly. As per media reports, Sitharaman is also expected to meet French President Emanuel Macron. France is also pitching India to purchase the second batch of 36 Rafale jets, but there is no official confirmation regarding this.
The Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has raised questions on Sitharaman’s France visit. He alleged through his tweet that the work had begun to justify, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to buy Rafale fighter aircraft. Meanwhile, the Dassault Aviation clarified on Wednesday that it had “freely chosen” Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence Limited for a partnership to set up a joint venture Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) to make parts for Rafale and Falcon 2020 business planes.