France is willing to provide India with the “best technology” to modernize its armed forces, French ambassador Emmanuel Lenain revealed Sunday.
The statement comes as New Delhi continues to find ways to reduce its dependence on Russia for military hardware.
Lenain suggested that Paris is a “great option” to help build a military-industrial base in the South Asian nation.
It could also co-develop weapons and equipment to help achieve the objectives of the “Make in India” program.
“I must stress that no other country is so committed to making available to Indian forces the best technology, without restrictions and to such a level to not only meet ‘Make in India,’ but also to go forward to co-develop and co-produce equipment,” Lenain told The Times of India.
The ambassador, however, did not mention which military technology it was willing to transfer to India.
Rafale-M Fighter Deal
France’s assurance of its readiness to co-produce military equipment for the Indian military comes as both countries prepare to sign a multimillion-dollar deal for 26 Rafale-M fighter aircraft.
According to a report by La Tribune, the contract would be signed during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to New Delhi in March.
The Indian government is reportedly working on the formalities before agreeing to the deal.
It is worth noting that Paris edged out the US in a direct competition to supply the Indian Navy with deck-based fighters for its INS Vikrant aircraft carrier.
India currently operates two squadrons of Rafale fighters. Having their maritime variant also in service with the Indian Navy would allow for easy maintenance due to the commonality of spare parts.