India and France to conduct joint naval exercise next year

New Delhi: India and France will jointly conduct naval exercise ‘Varuna’ next year.

This was decided during a meeting between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and French Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly here.

India and France also vowed to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation as a key pillar of the strategic partnership.

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A range of measures to expand military to military ties, including enhancing the scope of their joint exercises, in particular, the Varuna naval exercise scheduled in early 2018, was agreed upon. Both countries will also actively explore additional measures to facilitate operational level interactions between their respective armed forces.

They also discussed regional and international developments of mutual interest.

The ministers reiterated their strong intention to further expand bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism.

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Recognising the growing significance of maritime security in the Indo-Pacific and the need for greater maritime domain awareness, India and France will further expand information sharing arrangements building upon the Technical Arrangement on Exchange of White Shipping information signed earlier this year.

The two leaders also comprehensively reviewed developments in defence equipment and industry cooperation, where France is a major partner. They agreed to strongly support projects for defence manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ initiative as well as promote defence technology and R&D cooperation.

Parly is visiting India from 26-28 October, 2017 on her first official visit as the French Minister for the Armed Forces.


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