Amidst tensions with China, India’s back-to-back diplomacy with France
New Delhi, July 01: India has got an assurance of steadfast support from France, amidst the stand-off with China.
France assured India of steadfast support of its armed forces. This was offered in a letter written by Defence Minister of the Western European Union Nation, Florence Parly to India's Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar and his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian too spoke over the phone and discussed issues relating to contemporary security and political importance. On Monday, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and his French counterpart Francois Delattre also held a video conference.
"This was a hard blow against the soldiers, their families and the nation. In these difficult circumstances, I wish to express my steadfast and friendly support, along with that of the French armed forces. I request you to kindly convey my heartfelt condolences to the entire Indian armed forces as well as to the grieving families," Parly said in the letter to Singh.
Meanwhile, India is set to get the first batch of four Rafale fighters this month. India has asked France to speed up the delivery of the schedule of 36 Rafale jets under the Rs 59,000 crore deal that was inked in September 2016.
The development comes in the midst of the ongoing standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control. The first batch comprising 4 to 6 jets are likely to touch down in India on July 27.
According to the original delivery schedule, the first four Rafales were to reach Ambala by May this year. All the 36 fighter aircraft were scheduled to be delivered by April 2022. The delivery of the first batch got delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. India has now sought for the delivery given the heightened tensions with China.
The Indian Air Force's capability has been ramped up immensely, with the induction of the C-17 Globemaster Super Hercules and the CH-47 Chinook. The Indian Army's strike formations are now spearheaded by the T-90 tanks.