India and France have inked strategic pact providing for use of each other’s military facilities including opening naval bases to warships. It was signed during official state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India. The agreement reflects growing depth between both countries in defence ties and comes amid China’s growing military expansionism in Indo-Pacific region.
The agreement will facilitate reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services between armed forces of India and France during authorised port visits, joint exercises and joint training among others. It will be crucial in order to maintain the safety of international sea lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications in Indo-Pacific region. The deal is similar to logistical support pact (LEMOA) with US on use of each other’s land, air and naval bases and is indicator of strategic depth and maturity reached in India-France defence ties.
Key Takeaways from Joint Statement on Defence relations
Both countries have decided to create an annual defence dialogue at the ministerial level to explore ways to further deepen defence and strategic ties. They also signed pact on exchange and reciprocal protection of classified or protected information.
On ties in maritime security sphere, both countries will have unprecedented level of cooperation to ensure peace and stability in Indian and Pacific Oceans. Space agencies of both countries will also have joint monitoring mechanism for developments in maritime sphere, while their navies of will share intelligence and call their respective military bases for any requirement.
Both sides also emphasised the importance of the joint military exercises and affirmed their intention to enhance the level of the exercises. They acknowledged that Make-in-India initiative offers valuable opportunity for Indian and French defence enterprises to enter into co-development and co-production projects in defence sector, including through transfer of technologies.