On the final day of his three-day European journey, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited France on Wednesday. Modi had previously visited Germany and Denmark. This is Prime Minister Modi’s first foreign trip of the year. Modi’s trip to France was scheduled after Emmanuel Macron was re-elected President of France on April 24. In this context, have a look at the India-France defense relationship, which has been getting stronger.
Indo-France Strategic Defence Partnership:
India and France have always had a close relationship. The two countries began a strategic collaboration in 1998, which includes topics like as defense and security, space cooperation, and civil nuclear cooperation.
India has historically had a strong defense relationship with France. The Rafale fighter plane contract between India and France has recently received a lot of attention. Aside from that, the Mirage fighter planes of France have long been a stronghold of the Indian Air Force.
India has become the world’s biggest armaments purchaser. Even though Russia is India’s greatest defense partner and India buys the majority of its weaponry from Russia, India has been aggressively buying weapons from France in recent years.
According to research published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), France was India’s second-largest arms exporter behind Russia from 2017 to 2021. Between 2016 and 2020, India’s weaponry purchases from France climbed by 709 percent. According to SIPRI’s report, India’s military imports from Russia decreased by 47% from 2017 to 2021, whereas its arms purchases from France surged tenfold.
Crucial Defence imports from France:
India has received much lethal weaponry from France. These include fighter planes ranging from the Mirage to the Rafale. In Kargil in 1999, India sank Pakistan’s fangs with Miraj. At the same time, China is concerned about Rafale’s capabilities. Take a look at the important weaponry that France sent to India.
In 2016, India inked a contract with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter planes at 7.87 billion Euros. India owns 35 Rafale fighter jets until February 2022. Dassault Aviation, the French firm that makes the Mirage, also makes the Rafale. It is one of the world’s most advanced fighter jets, capable of carrying a variety of devastating armaments and missiles. It has been stationed at Ambala Air Force Station, which is strategically significant for the Indian Army due to its proximity to both Pakistan and China.
Rafale is noted for its speed, ability to carry weapons, and offensive capabilities. It is available in single and two-seat configurations. India has purchased 28 single and 8 dual-seat Rafale fighter jets.
The strike range of the Rafale is 3,700 kilometers. It can hold three different types of missiles. Meteor, Scalp, and Hammer missiles are all air-to-air missiles. Rafale can reach a height of 300 meters in less than a second after taking off. Rafale reaches a height of 18 thousand meters in a single minute. It can climb faster than modern fighter jets along the China-Pakistan border.
In many ways, Rafale outperforms China’s J20 fighter jet and Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet. The J20 has no combat experience, but the Rafale has been employed by the French Air Force in Afghanistan, Libya, and Mali. At the same time, Rafale can destroy Pakistan’s American-made F-16 fighter plane in dodge combat.
It is an Omni-role fighter plane that can land in a very short place on a mountain and can land on a moving vessel at sea. Another Rafale feature is the ability to refuel while in the air. Once fueled, it can fly for 10 hours continuously.
- Mirage 2000:
The Mirage 2000 is one of the Indian Air Force’s best and deadliest fighter jets. Dassault Aviation, a French firm, produces the Mirage-2000. In 1978, it flew for the first time, and in 1984, it joined the French Air Force. In 1985, the Indian Air Force received its first Mirage. Vajra is the name given to it by the Indian Air Force. In 1982, India signed orders with France for 36 single-seater and four twin-seater Mirage 2000 aircraft.
After Pakistan purchased F-16 fighter jets from the United States, India made this decision. In 2004, India placed an order for ten more Mirages, bringing the total number of Mirages in the Indian Air Force to 50. During the Kargil war in 1999, the Indian Army destroyed many Pakistani Army bunkers. India employed Mirage in airstrikes against militants in Pakistan’s Balakot in 2020
The Jaguar fighter jet is a collaborative project between the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom and the French Air Force. The improved Jaguar is now only used by the Indian Air Force. In 1978, India placed its first order for Jaguars, and the first batch of 35 Jaguars arrived in 1981.Jaguars remained an important part of the country’s air defense in the 1990s, taking part in a variety of battles, including surveillance and bombing. It is unique in that it can fly at incredibly low altitudes, avoid radar, yet aim precisely at targets.Shamsher is the name given to it by the Indian Air Force.
The Jaguar is primarily utilized as a ground attack aircraft by the Indian Air Force. The Indian Jaguar differs from the British Jaguar, which is built in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under license agreements with the United Kingdom and France. The IAF recently modernized its entire Jaguar fleet by installing avionics.
- Hammer Missile:
The HAMMER Missile (Highly Agile Module Munition Extended Range) is an air-to-surface missile developed by the French Safran Group. The Hammer is a multi-target missile that works on fire and forgot principle. It has the ability to hit moving and stationary targets. The hammer can hold a variety of explosives weighing between 125 and 1,000 kg.
India has inked a deal with France to purchase Hammer missiles for integration into its Tejas light combat aircraft. Along with the Rafale, France has also provided India with several Hammer missiles. The French Hammer missile has a range of 70 kilometers and can hit bunkers and ground targets.
- Scorpene-class submarine:
In 2005, India agreed to build Scorpene-class submarines for $3.75 billion with the Naval Group of France. These submarines were built in the Philippines by the government-owned Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders in partnership with France. The sixth and final submarine of the Scorpene class, INS Vagsheer, was launched in April 2022 and is planned to be deployed into the Indian Navy by 2024.
The first submarine, INS Kalvari, was inducted into the Indian Navy in December 2017 as part of Project 75 of the Scorpene Submarine.