New Delhi announced that India and France have reached an agreement to jointly produce defence equipment such as helicopters and submarines for the Indian military and other friendly nations.
The agreement was made during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, who met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended a state banquet hosted by President Draupadi Murmu, according to a government statement issued on Friday night.
The statement said that Macron and Modi agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in defence production, nuclear energy, space research and the application of artificial intelligence for public services such as climate change, health and agriculture.
The statement did not mention the value of any deals. France is the second-largest arms supplier to India, after Russia, and India has been using its fighter jets for over 40 years.
The leaders expressed their support for the establishment of maintenance, repair and overhaul services by France’s Safran for leading-edge aviation propulsion (LEAP) engines in India and the addition of such services for Rafale engines, as well as a helicopter partnership.
The bilateral summit, which lasted for 40 hours, was the fifth meeting between Macron and Modi since May.
Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said that India’s Tata Group and France’s Airbus have signed an agreement to produce civilian helicopters together.
French jet engine maker CFM International also announced an agreement with India’s Akasa Air to purchase more than 300 of its LEAP-1B engines to power 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
Akasa Air had previously ordered 76 aircraft powered by the engine, of which 22 are in operation.
The government statement said that India and France agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the southwest Indian Ocean, based on joint surveillance missions conducted from the French island territory of La Reunion in 2020 and 2022.
Macron also said that France would create conditions to attract up to 30,000 Indian students a year for higher education.
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