Indian Defense Minister leaves for France on 3-day visit

72

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman left for France on October 10 night on a three-day visit which comes amid a major controversy over the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation under a Rs 58,000 crore deal.

According to officials sources Sitharaman will hold wide range of talks with her French counterpart Florence Parly to strengthen strategic cooperation between the two nations and the two sides will also deliberate on major regional and global issues of mutual interests.

Sitharaman and Parly will also talk about expanding the scope of joint exercises with advanced military training in Persian Gulf and near Reunion Islands in the far Pacific.

Both will also discuss the supply of French Safran M88 military jet engine for Tejas Light Combat Aircraft.

During her visit she is expected to visit Dassault’s Rafale fighter jet manufacturing facility outside Paris.

The Indian Defense minister may also meet President Emmanuel Macron, although there is no confirmation on this.

Indian defense minister’s visit comes nearly three weeks after former French President Francois Hollande reportedly said that the Indian Government proposed the name of Reliance to partner with Dassault Aviation for the Rafale deal.

 Hollande, who was French president when the Rafale deal was finalised, triggered massive political controversy.