A renewed engagement with France in April would see Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian present in India to deliver a think-tank lecture and seek political dialogue with India.
In April, India and France will cement their security cooperation by engaging Charles de Gaulle's aircraft carrier strike force in two phases in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean with INS Vikramaditya. The dates of the exercises between the two navies are planned.
The French nuclear-powered carrier fleet, comprising two frigates and a support ship, is on task 'Clemenceau 21' and has been engaged for several months in the war against terrorism in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and the Arab Sea/Persian Gulf.
According to people aware of the developments in the Navy, the Western Fleet will conduct advanced exercises with the French carrier task force with its newly named commander, Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar. Though Charles de Gaulle is a 42,500-ton aircraft carrier with a Rafale M fighter on board, INS Vikramaditya is a 44,500-tonne conventional aircraft carrier with MiG-29K fighters on board.
A renewed engagement with France in April will see Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian arrive in India to deliver a think-tank lecture and seek political dialogue with India.
To add to this, the arrival of seven Rafale fighters from France from 19-23 April will be accompanied by the completion of the first French omni-role fighter squadron at Ambala airbase. The remaining 18 fighters will be assigned to defend the strategic Siliguri corridor at Hashimara on the eastern side.
India and France have cemented their bilateral relations with the convergence of the United Nations Security Council and the capacity building of the Indian Air Force through the procurement of medium-sized aircraft and multi-role transport tankers. In the development of air-independent propulsion for conventional submarines for potential Indian submersible boats, the two countries have also joined forces.