Indo French Defence Relations
Indo French defence cooperation comprises of training exercises as well as supply of major platforms and accessories over a period. The French Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud’s visit to Delhi was opportune with $2.1 billion deal to upgrade the 56 multi-role Mirage-2000 in the offing. The cost factor has reportedly narrowed down. French companies Dassault Aviation (aircraft manufacturer), Thales (weapons systems integrator) and MBDA (missile supplier) are involved in the programme for inducting avionics, radars, mission computers, glass cockpits, helmet-mounted displays, electronic warfare suites, jam-proof communication with data links, weapon delivery and precision-targeting systems, including all-weather, fire-and-forget MICA (interception and aerial combat missiles) systems.
The Scorpene submarine is the major project ongoing at present and the French just like their counter parts are competing for the MMRCA and are leaving no stone unturned to sponsor their product the Rafale. However there are other opportunities as well which are coming up such as follow up orders for six submarines, which may be favourably considered by the Indian government for supply by the French. While the Scorpene project has had hiccups, these are likely to be ironed out soon. The Indian Ministry of Defence is amenable to give follow up orders rather than go through the tendering process which is seen to be long and time consuming.
Indian warships will also hold combat manoeuvres with French warships, including nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, during the "Varuna" wargames on the high seas in January 2011. "Indian and French navies and air forces have build a high-level of interoperability through such exercises...We have a strategic partnership," said visiting French chief of defence staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud.