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French defence minister to visit India , likely to offer cooperation in Nuclear submarine program

Source : The Economic Times

French defence minister to visit India , likely to offer cooperation in Nuclear submarine program
French Defence Minister to visit India, likely to offer cooperation in Nuclear Submarine Program with French Nuclear Submarine Barracuda class design and technology

French Defence Minister Florence Parley is visiting India this week with cooperation in the maritime domain topping the agenda with Paris keen to focus on New Delhi as its primary partner in the Indo-Pacific region. This is the first visit by a top French minister since the creation of AUKUS that pushed France out of a defence deal from Australia. Parley is expected to visit on Thursday and Friday. India is topping the French agenda in Indo-Pacific under French EU presidency from January-June 2022, ET has learnt.

Cooperation on the naval front is expected to be on the agenda, with India and France deepening ties with multiple exercises, information sharing and exchange of officers. Discrete talks have been held on nuclear technology for submarines and the matter could be further taken up.

India has traditionally relied on Russian technology for its nuclear fleet but is now moving to a new series of attack submarines. Access to modern technology will be crucial to making these submarines as quiet as possible on missions.

After the AUKUS deal, the possibility of sharing nuclear submarine technology with trusted partners has found more legitimacy. France has been a close partner when it comes to submarine technology, with India building six Scorpene boats in Mumbai. The French side is also likely to bring up the issue of an ongoing contest to supply six more submarines under Project 75I.

France is staring at disqualification from the bidding process due to a clause that mandates an operational Air Independent Propulsion system that enables boats to stay submerged for up to three weeks.

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