Updated February 4th, 2024 at 12:28 IST
India, France unveil defence industrial roadmap, Tata inks deal with Airbus
As part of the defence initiatives, Airbus Helicopters will collaborate with the Tata Group to establish a Final Assembly Line (FAL) for H125 helicopters in Ind
India and France have unveiled an ambitious defence industrial roadmap aimed at co-developing critical military hardware. The announcement followed talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in Jaipur, where they also announced a space situational awareness program. Additionally, the Tata Group and Airbus revealed plans to jointly manufacture H125 helicopters, marking a key collaboration in the defence sector.
During the media briefing, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra highlighted key outcomes, including a scheme for professional exchange among individuals aged 18 to 35 and the activation of Schengen visas with a five-year validity for Indian postgraduate alumni of French institutions. The leaders signed nine agreements covering various areas, such as defence-space partnership, satellite launches, healthcare, and scientific research.
The defence industrial roadmap, a pivotal aspect of the discussions, aims to foster technology collaboration in air, space, underwater domain awareness, land warfare, robotics, cyber defence, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. Both nations expressed their commitment to deepen integration within the defence industrial sectors, identifying opportunities for co-design, co-development, and co-production.
As part of the defence initiatives, Airbus Helicopters will collaborate with the Tata Group to establish a Final Assembly Line (FAL) for H125 helicopters in India. This move positions them as the first private sector companies to produce helicopters in the country, with plans to cater to both domestic and export markets.
The leaders underscored the importance of upholding freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and respecting international law. Macron reiterated France's intention to attract up to 30,000 Indian students annually to French higher learning institutions. The defence space partnership includes joint efforts on a space situational awareness program, crucial for military satellite development and sharing information on space traffic and debris.
While the discussions touched on civil-nuclear energy cooperation, with a focus on small modular reactors (SMRs), there was no announcement regarding India's proposed procurement of naval variants of Rafale jets and Scorpene submarines from France.
The joint statement emphasized the condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, expressing solidarity with Israel and calling for a political process leading to a two-state solution for lasting peace in the region. The leaders also highlighted the need for concerted action against terrorism and the importance of upholding international standards on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.
(With PTI inputs)
Published January 27th, 2024 at 11:48 IST