Diplomatic advisor to French President, Emmanuel Bonne, is scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday following his dialogue with India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. During these strategic talks, India looks to make France a key partner in its ‘Make in India’ approach to defence manufacturing. This dialogue assumes importance as India seeks to beef up its air force and naval capabilities in view of rising Chinese aggression.

Ahead of the high-level exchanges between India and France in March this year, the 36th round of India-France Strategic Dialogue will take place today. Diplomatic advisor Bonne will meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Media reports suggest that India’s attempts to be self-reliant in weapons and hardware platforms will be one of the key points of the talks as cooperation from allies like France has become increasingly important with the once all-weather friend Russia struggling with its invasion of Ukraine.

What Is India Expecting From These Talks

Not only 100 per cent transfer of technology for manufacturing of aircraft engines to power India’s twin engine fighter, but also the designing and development of next generation high-powered military and civilian engines for aircrafts, will be a priority for India.

The Tata Group has already tied up with France-based Airbus to manufacture C295 tactical transport aircraft in Gujarat’s Vadodara. The project can be expanded to manufacture civilian and other military aircrafts in a joint venture with France.

As the Kalvari (French Scorpene) class submarine is expected to deliver its final submarine this year, India would want France to continue the manufacturing diesel powered attack submarines modernised with indigenous Air Independent Propulsion system for enhanced endurance at Mumbai dockyards, according to a report by the Hindustan Times. In May 2022 a French Naval Group had pulled out of a deal to manufacture six conventional submarines for the Indian Navy in India. It was the largest project with an international Original Equipment Manufacturer with any Indian company that would involve sharing of technology to India.

What Else Would Be On The Agenda

India and France are likely to review their security cooperation during these high-level talks and will deliberate on a wide-range of bilateral and global issues, PTI quoted the Ministry of External Affairs as saying.

“Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor will lead the Indian delegation while the French delegation will be led by Emmanuel Bonne, Diplomatic Advisor to the French President,” the MEA said.

The Hindustan Times report also said that Doval and Bonne will discuss rising radicalisation in the South Asian region and the aggressive muscle flexing of the People’s Liberation Army of China in border regions.