Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to visit Italy, France from Oct 9-12

India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Italy and France from Oct 9-12 to discuss expanding bilateral strategic engagement and explore industrial cooperation for joint development of military hardware.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

New Delhi | Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will pay a four-day visit to Italy and France beginning Monday to expand bilateral strategic engagement and explore industrial cooperation for joint development of military hardware.

In the first leg of his two-nation tour, Singh will travel to Rome where he will hold wide-ranging talks with his Italian counterpart Guido Crisetto, according to the defence ministry.

The relationship between India and Italy was elevated to the level of strategic partnership in March during the visit to India of the Italian prime minister.

"Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Italy and France from October 9 to 12, " the ministry said.

In Paris, Singh will attend the fifth annual India-France defence dialogue with his French counterpart Sebastian Lecornu.

"India and France recently celebrated 25 years of strategic partnership. Both countries enjoy a deep and wide-ranging bilateral defence relationship, including significant industrial cooperation," the defence ministry said in a statement.

"In both Rome and Paris, the defence minister will also interact with the defence industry CEOs and senior representatives to discuss potential opportunities for industrial cooperation," it said.

Officials said the potential for joint development of military platforms will be part of Singh's discussions both in Rome and Paris.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Paris in July during which the two sides announced a raft of ground-breaking defence cooperation projects, including the joint development of jet and helicopter engines and construction of three Scorpene submarines for the Indian Navy.

The two strategic partners also expressed commitment to cooperate in the co-development and co-production of advanced defence technologies, including for the benefit of third countries.

Ahead of Modi's visit to Paris, the defence ministry had approved a proposal to purchase 26 Rafale jets from France for the Indian Navy. It also cleared procurement of three French-designed Scorpene class submarines.

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