India-France security, defence talks tomorrow
New Delhi: India and France are expected to discuss the security situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region along with the ongoing defence deals expected to be worth over Rs 80,000 crore between the two countries during Defence Minister-level talks to be held on Friday.
During the three-day visit of French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the two sides are expected to discuss the security situation in the Af-Pak region after the withdrawal of the American forces from there in 2014, Defence Ministry officials said on Thursday.
The two sides are also expected to discuss the over Rs 50,000 crore deal for 126 Rafale multirole combat aircraft and the Rs 30,000 crore Maitri air defence missile programme, they said.
During the one-on-one meeting with Defence Minister A K Antony, Le Drian is also expected to brief him about the French perspective on the global security scenario.
Sources said such a briefing has been held by France only for two countries - the United Kingdom and the US.
On the `delays` in the conclusion of the negotiations for the Rafale deal, they said there has never been any date or timeline fixed for signing the contract and therefore, there would be no discussion on the `delay` in finalising the deal during the meetings.
The sources said the over Rs 11,000 crore contract for upgrading the fleet of Indian Mirage-2000 aircraft was also finalised after negotiations of three years between the two countries.
Around 16 months ago, India had declared French firm Dassault Aviation`s Rafale combat aircraft as the winner in the tender for supplying 126 fighter jets to India.
Sources said no deal would be signed during the visit of the French minister. During the visit, the French minister will also meet industrialists of the defence sector, members of the French community, and exchange views on global threats and current international issues with high-profile Indian researchers and scholars, as well as Members of Parliament, a French embassy release said.
On Saturday, he will visit Air Force Station, Gwalior, for a briefing on the IAF Mirage 2000 squadrons and interact with pilots, officers and technicians who fly and maintain the fleet.
He will also visit some historical places in Gwalior, which keeps alive the memory of French officers who, 200 years ago, contributed to the development of the armed forces of Gwalior`s erstwhile rulers, it said.
In the recent times, France has been awarded several key tenders by India including the supply of six Scorpene submarines to the Navy and the multi-billion dollar 126 combat aircraft deal.
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