Panaji : French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain on Saturday said when India is looking to diversify its suppliers then France is a "great option" and also committed to making available to Indian forces the best technologies without restrictions.
"Our governments at the top level have really understood the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat And we really want to be partner in that process to build a National Industrial base for defence industries in India. And we understand that also because we are a highly independent country and we've been through that process also. I mean India is looking to diversify its suppliers and obviously, I think that France is a great option and we're working on major equipment cooperation together," Lenain said when asked whether France can replace Russia as a defence supplier.
The French envoy stressed his country is committed to making available the best technologies to Indian forces without restrictions and France will not only support for make in India, but also come forward to co-develop and co-produce equipment.
Speaking about the relations between the two countries, Lenain said, "Obviously, we have great cooperation and on strategic issues with India, there's a greater level of trust that makes it possible for countries to commit over years or decades and to launch success defence equipment program so that is for sure. And we have seen many in the last years successful delivery of 36 Rafale for the Air Force, and we have seen many offers."
The French Navy's carrier strike group, including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, is currently on a deployment in the Indian Ocean. The carrier strike group carried out a large-scale "Varuna" air-sea joint exercise with Indian Navy from January 16 to 20.
From January 21, Charles de Gaulle makes a port call in Goa. According to the official statement released by France Embassy, the French Carrier Strike Group, comprising the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, is deployed in the Indian Ocean under the ANTARES mission.
This joint deployment in the Indian Ocean contributes to ensuring stability in this region in line with France and India's shared approach of collective security based on respect for international law at sea and in the air.
A major annual aero-naval event whose first edition dates back to 1983, "VARUNA" bears witness to the ability of the French and the Indian Navies to deploy and operate together and exemplifies the high level of trust between France and India, according to the statement.
The 2023 edition holds special significance as France and India embark on a year of celebrations of the 25th anniversary of their strategic partnership and work towards an ambitious agenda for renewing, expanding and deepening this partnership.
Speaking about the Indo-Pacific region, Rear-Admiral Emmanuel Slaars, Joint Commander of French Forces said, "Our aim is to make sure that international law is respected by everyone in every place. It's really great to work with Indian Navy which is committed to ensure that international law is respected and fight illicit trafficking at sea."