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India, France together in 'sensitive areas': French minister
Friday July 26, 2013 11:37 PM, IANS

India and France are moving together in sensitive areas ranging from defence to counter-terrorism, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday.

Terming India as a "major priority" for French diplomacy, he said both countries were "moving forward together in intense cooperation in sensitive areas such as defence, civilian nuclear energy, space, security and counter-terrorism".

The minister, on a visit to India to mark the 15th anniversary of the Indo-French strategic partnership, was delivering a talk on 'Indo-French Defence Partnership: The Choice of Strategic Autonomy' at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) here.

He said France will have a new military and industrial strategy that will guarantee its strategic autonomy.

Responding to a query on the delay over the Rs.50,000 crore deal for supplying 126 Rafale combat aircraft to India, he said the projects of such magnitude take time to materialise.

The schedule and the pace of the project was normal, said the minister, expressing hope that India and France will continue to work together on many other projects as well.

He added that India and France will continue to discuss cyber security within the framework of strategic relations. An Indo-French Cyber Security Dialogue has been launched.

Reacting to a query about the standard of combat aircrafts India is importing from France, he said the Rafale were State of Art aircraft and the same holds true for other products New Delhi is buying.

The minister said the White Paper highlighted India's economic emergence, and the areas the two countries to cooperate.

"India appears to us as a factor of stability," he said, adding France supported UN reforms to make room for new permanent members including New Delhi.


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