Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had a very productive and warm meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday following an official handover ceremony of the first Rafale fighter jet recently acquired by the Indian Air Force (IAF). Rajnath Singh happily welcomed France as a vital strategic partner of India during the meeting at Élysée Palace in the French capital of Paris.
The Ministry released a statement quoting that the 35-minute meeting demonstrated the depth of India-France bilateral partnership, especially in the defence sector, that has significantly strengthened in recent times. Both leaders resolved to take the relationship to the next higher level.
“Singh thanked President Macron for his strong support to further intensifying the strategic partnership between the two countries and for his support to the Make in India initiative,” the statement added. Rajnath also discussed various issues with the France’s armed forces minister Florence Parly. Defence advisor to the French President, Admiral Bernard Rogel, was also present at the meeting.
He also expressed his deepest condolences on the demise of former French President Jacques Chirac on behalf of the Indian government. Ajay Kumar, a part of the ministerial delegation to France, quoted that India has a multi-dimensional relationship with France and the ties are progressing on all fronts. The talks today is part of a comprehensive defence dialogue between the two countries.
Singh had tweeted after his arrival in Paris on Monday that he was 'delighted to be in France'. “This great nation is India’s important strategic partner and our special relationship goes far beyond the realm of formal ties. My visit to France is aimed at expanding the existing strategic partnership between both the countries,” he had said.
A Defence Ministry spokesperson said that Singh is scheduled to fly a sortie in the Rafale jet following the Shastra puja, which will conclude with the traditional breaking of coconut before the new aircraft.
(with inputs from ANI)