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India, France cement alliance over completion of Rafale deal

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India, France cement alliance over completion of Rafale deal
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Paris: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressed the French Institute of International Relations during his three-day visit to the country and emphasised on the "steady" nature of the relationship between India and France amidst a shifting geopolitical landscape. France and India shared. "common vision", the minister said.

On the same day, France completed its part of the Rafale deal by handing over 3 jets to India. 36 fighters were promised with the last one being handed over to India in France. The last fighter with all India's specific enhancements is expected to be delivered next month.

"The world is today in the midst of multiple crises, including one in Europe. It is taking place against the backdrop of profound geopolitical, geo-economic and technological changes. The widespread disruption of the pandemic has sharpened, perhaps even accelerated these trends. Taken together, these developments have generated new challenges to the international order. We no longer have the comfort of the familiar," Jaishankar said in his address titled "How India sees France".

"In response, all nations are reappraising priorities, strategies, relationships and even strategic geography. We scramble every day to adapt to the rapid changes in the environment. Often, long standing assumptions have to be revisited," he added.

India's relations with France have continued to move forward on a steady and clear course. "It is a relationship that has been free from sudden shifts and surprises that we sometimes see in other cases. Indeed, these ties have continuously adapted to change and come out stronger for that," he said.

On the sidelines of the event, both sides also adopted the "India-France Roadmap on the Blue Economy and Ocean Governance", with an aim to enhance partnership in the field of blue economy by way of institutional, economic, infrastructural and scientific cooperation.

They also agreed to continue to enhance their cooperation in the field of sports. The two sides agreed to conclude a Joint Declaration of Intent in the Area of Sports, aimed at further facilitating people-to-people contact.

With regard to the last Rafale jets, the IAF will test the specific enhancements to their satisfaction under Indian conditions apart from verifying the original equipment manufacturers claims as per agreement.

After this, work will begin in retrofitting the remaining 32 aircraft at Ambala in western sector and Hashimara air base in eastern sector with the India specific enhancements with all the related equipment already with the IAF.

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TAGS:Rafale dealDiplomacyFranceS Jaishankar
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