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India-France Hold Bilateral Talks
Jul 05, 2014

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held bilateral talks with Foreign Minister of France Laurent Fabius seeking more co-operation in the areas of space, civil and nuclear energy cooperation, defence and counter-terrorism.

India and France have a bilateral strategic partnership. France is supplying nuclear energy to the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant. Since France has some concerns with regard to Indian Civil Nuclear Liability Law, it was decided that experts of French company AREVA and NPCIL from Indian side will handle the techno-commercial aspects of this major project.

Laurent Fabius is the first European Minister to touch base with the new Indian Government. He also conveyed French President’s invitation to Narendra Modi to visit France as early as possible, probably by September after he visits UN General Assembly. Trust and cooperation has developed with the new Government in cutting edge technologies. India-France relations should reach true potentials, our bilateral trade remains behind potential in different sectors.

France has put new procedures to deliver visa to Indian citizens in less than 48 hours and is keen to push trade with India and take it beyond the $18 billion.

During his talks with Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitely the French Foreign Minister raised the issue much delayed 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft deal (MMRCA). Indications are that the deal will go through very soon. The initial cost of the deal when the project was conceived in 2006 was Rs. 45,000 crore. The price tag now may cross Rs. 80,000 crore. 

India will buy 20 aircraft off the shelf and the remaining planes will be manufactured by HAL in India after inking the transfer of technology pact. Moreover, Dassault will invest at least 50 per cent of the contracted amount back into the Indian industry as part of offset agreement.  This will enable the Indian public and private sector defence industry to get hold of state-of-the-art technology.


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