India and France have solidified their commitment to collaborate on joint defense production, encompassing helicopters, submarines, and more, both for the Indian armed forces and friendly nations, according to a government statement issued following French President Emmanuel Macron's visit.
President Macron's visit included meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attendance at a state banquet hosted by President Draupadi Murmu. During their discussions, Macron and Modi expressed their intent to expand bilateral cooperation across various sectors, including defense production, nuclear energy, space research, and the application of artificial intelligence in public services such as climate change, healthcare, and agriculture. The statement, however, did not specify the exact value of the agreements reached.
India values its relationship with France as a significant arms supplier, with a long-standing partnership that has extended for decades.
Key outcomes of the bilateral summit included the establishment of maintenance, repair, and overhaul services for leading-edge aviation propulsion (LEAP) engines by France's Safran in India, extending these services to Rafale engines, and a partnership in the helicopter sector. Additionally, Indian conglomerate Tata Group and France's Airbus inked an agreement to jointly manufacture civilian helicopters.
Furthermore, French jet engine maker CFM International announced a deal with India's Akasa Air to purchase over 300 LEAP-1B engines, powering 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Akasa Air had previously ordered 76 aircraft equipped with these engines, with 22 currently in operation.
Both nations also emphasized heightened cooperation in the southwest Indian Ocean, building upon joint surveillance missions conducted from the French island territory of La Reunion in 2020 and 2022.
In a bid to bolster educational ties, President Macron announced France's commitment to creating conditions that would attract up to 30,000 Indian students annually for higher education.
The visit marked the fifth meeting between Presidents Macron and Modi since May, underscoring the deepening partnership between India and France, spanning various sectors, including defense, aviation, and education.