India-France Current Affairs - 2019

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Meteor missiles: India asks for early delivery from France

India has requested for an early delivery of Meteor air-to-air missiles from France. These missiles will provide India the power to take on US supplied AMRAAM missiles possessed by the Pakistan Air Force.

Highlights

The Meteor missile has a delivery range to take over all the other air forces in the region including China. The missiles were to come by late 2020. However, India is insisting for delivery of at least 10 missiles in advance along with the first set of Rafale fighter jets. The first set of Rafale jets are to arrive in May 2020 after the completion of pilot training in France.

Meteor Missiles

The Meteor missiles are air-to-air missiles with a range of 150 km and no escape zone of 60 km. This no escape zone is the largest in the world according to its manufacturers. These missiles are to be attached to the Rafale jets. With increasing tensions between India and Pakistan, India is requesting for an early delivery.

Operation Chammal

The French Government has invited India to visit the Al Dhafra air base in UAE where the Rafale aircrafts are on active operations. The base is currently executing Operation Chammal.

Operation Chammal is a French Military operation in Syria and Iraq to contain the expansion of Islamic State. The operation also supports Iraq army. The name of the operation comes from the north westerly wind that blows over Persian Gulf and Iraq.

Indo-French collaboration: Largest FDI project of Indian Railways

The Indian Railways and Alstom came together in the intention of transforming the freight transportation of India. In line with the collaboration, the MELPM-Madhepura Electric Locomotive Private Limited has been established. MELPM will now manufacture 800 electric locomotives for freight services with the foreign investment of 3.5 billion Euros.

Highlights

  • The locomotives including the bogies have been redesigned
  • Under the agreement, around 10 locomotives are to be delivered by the end of 2019-20 financial year and 100 locomotives by the end of March 2021
  • A factory along with township has been set up as part of the project in Madhepura, Bihar. The factory can manufacture 120 locomotives per year.
  • More than 300 engineers from India and France are working on the project currently

Significance

  • More than 90% of the parts of the locomotives are to be manufactured in India. This is being done under Make in India initiative
  • The project under the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative will set up skill centers that will impart training to local people
  • More than 50% jobs are allocated to the locals of the region.

Benefits

As the locomotives are 100% electrified it will not only bring down operational cost but will also reduce congestion faced by the railways