India and France, during the Annual Defence Dialogue held in Paris, agreed to expand the scope and complexity of the existing regular bilateral joint exercises. Both countries are a part of several joint exercises such as Shakti, Varuna, and Garuda. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his French counterpart Florence Parly comprehensively reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral defence cooperation.
Both ministers exchanged views on contemporary regional and international developments of mutual interest and discussed ways to further deepen defence-related official as well as operational level interactions. According to the Ministry’s statement, both leaders recognised that India-France partnership in the Indian Ocean Region is crucial for preserving and promoting the common strategic and security interests. “The two Ministers noted the continuing implementation of actions outlined in the ‘Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region’,” read the release. “The Ministers also reaffirmed the strong intention of the two sides to further deepen bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism,” it added.
Rajnath Singh, on October 8, emphasised on the focus to enhance the capabilities of Indian Air Force (IAF) saying that the new Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will make India stronger. “In India, today is Dussehra, the festival where we celebrate victory over evil. It is also the 87th Indian Air Force Day. Therefore, today’s day becomes symbolic in so many ways,” Singh said. At the Rafale handing over ceremony, Singh said that it was a historic and landmark day for the Indian Armed Forces.
Singh also held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron during his two-day visit of France. "I thanked President Macron for his strong support to further intensifying our strategic partnership, especially in the defence sector, with India and for our ‘Make in India initiatives," Singh said after the meeting. He also thanked Macron for strong support by France to India's strategic interests and principles, including in fighting terrorism.