France and India have agreed to cooperate on advanced defence technology, a move that could potentially reduce New Delhi’s reliance on Russia for procuring military hardware.

French President Emmanuel Macron met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Paris on Wednesday, issuing a statement that includes the weapons cooperation. Underscoring the “long-standing armament cooperation” that includes the “transfer of technology from France to India,” the two leaders agreed to France’s deeper involvement in India’s “self-reliant” efforts in advanced defence technology, the statement said.

Over the past five years, Russia supplied about half of India’s weaponry, according to estimates from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. France provided over 20% of arms during that span.

But looking at 2020 alone, France was India’s top arms dealer, exporting more than $1 billion worth of military hardware, compared with $970 million of weapons from Russia. Western nations have ramped up military ties with India to encourage a shift away from Moscow.

India and France share a vision of an Indo-Pacific region “based on commitment [to] international law, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, freedom of navigation and a region free from coercion, tensions and conflicts,” the joint statement reads.

The language is a vailed swipe at China’s maritime expansionism. The two sides will cooperate over a wide range of areas in the Indo-Pacific region, including defence, trade and investment, according to the statement.