New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today co-chaired the 4th India-France annual defence dialogue with French minister for the armed forces Sebastien Lecornu. During the annual defence dialogue in New Delhi, Singh and Lecornu discussed various bilateral, regional and defence industrial cooperation issues.

Calling the discussions with the French minister of armed forces "warm and fruitful," Rajnath Singh in a tweet said, "Had warm and fruitful discussions with the Defence Minister of France, Mr Sebastien Lecornu during the fourth India-France Annual Defence Dialogue in New Delhi today. A wide range of bilateral, regional & defence industrial cooperation issues was discussed during the dialogue."

Notably, Sebastien Lecornu has arrived in India on a three-day visit from November 26-28. Emmanuel Lenain, French ambassador to India, in a tweet, said that Rajnath Singh and Sebastien Lecornu discussed various issues, including Indo-Pacific, Make In India projects and joint drills. Lenain stressed that the two sides agreed to strengthen the defence ties between India and France and tackle common challenges.

Emmanuel Lenain tweeted, "Ministers @SebLecornu & @RajnathSingh today held the France India Annual Defence Dialogue, ranging from the #IndoPacific to #MakeInIndia projects, and joint drills. They agreed to strengthen our defence coop in all areas crucial for strategic autonomy & tackling our common challenges."

Earlier in the day, French Minister for the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu was accorded the Guard of Honour in New Delhi after he was received by his Indian counterpart in the national capital on Monday. Lecornu also laid a wreath at National War Memorial, as he began the Delhi leg of his visit. He also held a meeting with India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. According to the French envoy, Lecornu and Doval shared close assessments of global and regional security concerns as well as agreed to intensify counter-terrorism cooperation.

Emmanuel Lenain tweeted, "As he begins the #Delhi leg of his visit, French Minister for the Armed Forces @SebLecornu lays a wreath and pays tribute to India's valiant soldiers at #NationalWarMemorial." On Sunday, French Minister for armed forces Sebastien Lecornu visited INS Vikrant in Kochi. He lauded India for joining the club of nations capable of building aircraft carriers and highlighted the role of France and India's naval cooperation in France's strategy for the Indo-Pacific.

In a tweet, Lenain said, "In #Kochi, French Min @SebLecornu visits #IACVikrant. He praised India on joining the club of nations capable of building aircraft carriers & highlighted the central role of naval cooperation in France's strategy for the #IndoPacific." On board the INS Vikrant, Lecornu said, "France and India are united in their resolve to defend their maritime sovereignty and guarantee freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region."

The Ministry of Defence in the press release noted, "India and France have close and friendly relations." It further added, "In 1998, the two countries entered into Strategic Partnership, marking the convergence of their views on a range of international issues apart from a close and growing bilateral relationship." Notably, India and France are partners in defence and armaments and contribute to India's policy of strategic autonomy in the defence sector through industrial cooperation.