On an official visit to India, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met with his Indian counterpart to discuss “regional and international security challenges of mutual interest”.
On top of the agenda was the sale of 126 Rafale combat aircraft to India and the security situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
Both sides are said to be trading cautisously with regard to the MMRCA deal although both ministers are intent to conclude negotiations for the project at the earliest. According to reports, the possibility of signing it by the end of this year looks bleak against the backdrop of a weak rupee and the complexity of the contract.
During the 90-minute meeting, Le Drian also presented Antony with France’s new White Paper on Defence and National Security.
Although no contracts are expected to be signed this year, both sides discussed the sale of the Maitri surface-to-air missile defense system.
“The Ministers had detailed discussions regarding current and future co-operation in the areas of defence equipment and technology collaboration. They agreed that such cooperation should continue to be progressed to the mutual benefit of both countries, including in high technology areas involving joint research and development and transfer of technology,” they said in a joint statement.