New Delhi, October 11: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman left for France Wednesday night on a three-day visit to France. Nirmala Sitharaman will hold wide-ranging talks with her French counterpart Florence Parly on ways to deepen strategic cooperation between the two countries and the two sides will also deliberate on major regional and global issues of mutual interest.
The visit to France comes amid a massive controversy over the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace company Dassault Aviation under a Rs 58,000 crore deal. The Defence Minister will also take stock of progress in the supply of the Rafale jets by Dassault to the Indian Air Force. There was indication that she may even visit the facility where the jets are being manufactured.
The government has vehemently rejected the allegations and asserted that it did not have any role in the selection of Reliance Defence. In their talks, Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman and Parly are expected to deliberate on joint production of military platforms and weapons by the two countries.
Both the countries Sitharaman will discuss ways to expand Indo-French maritime security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. French President Emmanuel Macron had visited India in March during which the two countries decided to expand strategic ties and deepen counter-terror cooperation.