French defence official for cooperation with Britain on subs

The official says France, UK could avoid redundancies, share their resources.

Updated: Sep 13, 2010, 13:25 PM IST

Paris: The chairman of the French national assembly`s defence committee said on Sunday France and Britain might cooperate in the field of nuclear submarines.

In an interview with right-wing daily Le Figaro, Guy Teissier of the ruling UMP said the two countries could "avoid redundancies and share their resources," adding: "We can envisage cooperation between our nuclear submarines."

Teissier said: "This could only happen in a period of relative peace, like today" because "in case of crisis, each one should take back possession of its own dissuasion (force), since nuclear fire cannot be shared."

He went on: "One might imagine that each country maintains its effort of investment in dissuasion, without lowering its guard, while making functional savings thanks to cooperation."

Teissier recalled an old project to cooperate on aircraft carriers, "a project that was difficult to achieve as the aircraft carriers bore atomic weapons, but cooperating on sharing the means would lower the costs."

Bilateral sharing of aircraft carriers was deemed "unrealistic" Friday by the French and British defence ministers, Herve Morin and Liam Fox. But they did not rule out joint defence projects in other fields.

Last March, then British prime minister, Gordon Brown, said Britain and France would work together more closely on nuclear defence, after a report that the two countries could share submarine patrols.

Brown said he had reached an agreement with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on nuclear cooperation during a visit by Sarkozy to London.

PTI