Against the backdrop of strengthening ties between India and France, the 20th edition of the Indo-French Chiefs of Staff Talks ended in Paris on Wednesday. The two-day talks focused on new bilateral defense cooperation initiatives and strengthening defense commitments, the government said on Thursday.
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The India-France Joint Chiefs of Staff Talks is a forum created to enhance defense cooperation between nations through regular talks at strategic and operational levels.
“The meeting took place in a friendly, warm and cordial atmosphere. Discussions focused on new initiatives under the existing bilateral defense cooperation mechanism and on strengthening ongoing defense commitments,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
The meeting was co-chaired by Air Vice Marshal B Manikantan, Deputy Chief of Integrated Staff, Int-C (Military Cooperation), Headquarters, Integrated Defense Staff, and Brigadier General Eric Peltier, Head of Bilateral Cooperation, South Headquarters/General Staff.
This comes hot on the heels of India and France signing a roadmap to boost their bilateral blue economy exchanges in February during Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to France. The roadmap aims to forge a common vision of ocean governance based on the rule of law and to cooperate on sustainable and resilient coastal and river infrastructure.
The scope of the roadmap will encompass maritime trade, shipbuilding industry, fisheries, marine technology and scientific research, ocean observation, marine biodiversity, marine ecosystem management and integrated management of coasts, marine ecotourism, inland waterways, cooperation between competent administrations on civil maritime matters. , marine spatial planning and international law of the sea and related multilateral negotiations.
“India and France intend to make the blue economy a driver of progress for their respective societies in respecting the environment and coastal and marine biodiversity. Both countries aim to contribute to scientific knowledge and conservation of the oceans and to ensure that the ocean remains a global commons, an area of freedom and trade, based on the rule of law,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release.
“India and France maintain a quality dialogue on maritime security, which allows them to discuss strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific. This partnership marks a significant step forward in Franco-Indian cooperation in the field of maritime security,” the ministry added.
During a telephone conversation held in January 2020, French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed a series of issues of common interest and agreed to stay in touch and strengthen overall strategic cooperation between the India and France, including in the fields of defence.