France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly will be visiting the country today to attend a ceremony in Ambala to induct the first batch of five Rafale jets into the Indian Air Force. The French Defence Minister after the induction ceremony will hold talks with her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
In a statement, the French embassy in New Delhi said the focus of the talks will be on maritime security ties in the Indo-Pacific, counter-terror cooperation, and strengthening overall bilateral defence partnership.
Pakistan and Islamic terrorism
When talking about counter-terrorism operations, both France and India have had their fair share of struggle with radical Islamic terrorism. While New Delhi has a nefarious terror-exporting country named Pakistan in its immediate neighbourhood, Paris on the other hand is affected by the growing fundamentalism in the European country.
The Emmanuel Macron government in recent times has assumed a firmer stance in dealing with the refuges and the menace of separatism that the Islamic extremists have tried to bring in the European country. Macron 2.0 had given the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo the go-ahead signal to republish controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to mark the start of a trial of suspected accomplices of terrorist gunmen who attacked its offices in January 2015
France coming for China in the Indo-Pacific too
France has been India’s all-weather ally and is playing an instrumental part in cornering China, both diplomatically and militarily. The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, after India had requested for expediting the delivery in the backdrop of the June 15 Galwan valley clash near the LAC.
France had outrightly condemned the vile Chinese excursions in the region and had expressed its condolences to the martyred Indian soldiers. Interestingly, France was the first country to offer India the support of its armed forces.
Florence Parly had written a letter to his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, expressing her condolences for the Armed forces and their bereaved families.
“This was a hard blow against the soldiers, their families and the nation. In these difficult circumstances, I wish to express my steadfast and friendly support, along with that of the French armed forces. I request you to kindly convey my heartfelt condolences to the entire Indian armed forces as well as to the grieving families,” the minister had written.
Before Parly and Rajnath Singh’s meeting, the foreign secretaries of India and France along with Australia has met on Wednesday evening and held a trilateral dialogue with the focus on enhancing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and strengthening multilateralism.
“During the dialogue, the three sides discussed economic and geostrategic challenges and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and domestic responses to Covid-19,” said a statement from the external affairs ministry.
Expansion of the QUAD
Beijing’s vile manoeuvres in the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific has led the Quad– India, Australia, USA and Japan– to seek newer allies to chokehold the communist regime in the international waters.
The Quad has been steadily driving efforts to forge greater cooperation among countries that have a stake in the Indian Ocean and with members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The bilateral relations between India and France are at a new peak and under PM Narendra Modi and Emmanuel Macron; both countries have helped each other out during the pandemic.
In a heartwarming letter, dated July 24, Macron had thanked PM Narendra Modi for India’s support to France with medical supplies earlier this year. Paris had then proposed a visit by Parly to show its unwavering commitment to India by following up on the Chinese skirmishes in the region.
The visit by Parly today will touch down on several burning issues and China and Pakistan– two friends, thick as thieves—would not be liking the developments one bit. France assuming an important role in the Indo-Pacific might very well spell doom for Beijing and its neo-colonial expansionism dreams.