INDIA & FRANCE INK COMPREHENSIVE DEFENSE & SPACE AGREEMENT
This story comes to start this week's blogs courtesy of E.E., who passed it along, and for very good reason, because a close reading of the article leads to the high octane speculative conclusion that there is much not being said about this agreement. We'll get back to that, but first, here's the story:
A quick reading of this article soon impresses on one the comprehensive nature of Franco-Indian defense-industrial arrangements. This is nothing new where the two countries are concerned. These arrangements go back several years as India's purchases of the French Rafale fighter jet indicate. There's more in this agreement though that provides a suggestive context for today's high octane speculation:
According to the joint statement, the two leaders identified opportunities to work together in the defence sector with a motive of ‘not only fulfilling the defence needs of the Indian armed forces, but also of providing a viable and reliable source of defence supplies to other friendly countries.’
India and France are collaborating on the fifth-generation fighter jet engine, Shakti, which seeks to power the HAL Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
At the press briefing on 26 January, Indian envoy to France Jawed Ashraf said that discussions were in progress between Safran and Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Aeronautical Development Agency and Gas Turbine Research Establishment for a set of specifications that complies with the India’s future fighter jet requirements.
In other words, parsing this bureaucratese a bit more closely, what is occurring is a technology transfer from France to India, to enable that country to manufacture sophisticated military equipment in India, and to allow it in turn to be "a reliable source of defence supplies to other friendly countries," countries like Japan with which India in recent years concluded a logistical aid agreement, with both countries pledging to help supply the other in case of a conflict with you-know-who (and no, I don't mean Indonesia, Australia, or the Philippines). Why France? Because India has long defense ties with that country, but added to this is the increasingly evident unreliability of the USA as a partner... for anything. And if there was any doubt about that perception, Paris and New Delhi just made it crystal clear.
But these considerations are not, in my opinion, the centerpiece of the agreement; they're just the context for our high octane speculation about this:
Following the Strategic Space Dialogue launched in June 2023 to provide strategic guidance and direction across all aspects of space cooperation, the leaders agreed to take ‘full advantage of the opportunities in the space sector in both countries.’They welcomed the MoU between NSIL and Arianespace to build a long-term partnership on satellite launch missions as well as the signing of the Letter of Intent on defence space cooperation, the joint statement said.
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