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The month of April will see renewed engagement with France with Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian arriving in India to deliver a lecture at a think-tank and pursue political dialogue with India.

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India and France will cement its defence cooperation in April when Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier strike force will exercise with INS Vikramaditya in two phases in Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. The dates of the exercises are being scheduled between the two navies.

The nuclear powered French carrier force, comprising two frigates and on support ship, is on mission “Clemenceau 21”, which is involved in the fight against terrorism for several months in Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea/ Persian Gulf.

According to people aware of the developments in the Navy , the Western Fleet with its newly appointed commander Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar will be conducting advanced exercises with the French carrier task force. While Charles de Gaulle is a 42,500 tonne aircraft carrier with Rafale M fighter on board, INS Vikramaditya is a conventionally powered aircraft carrier with displacement of 44,500 tonnes and has MiG-29K fighters on board.

The month of April will see renewed engagement with France with Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian arriving in India to deliver a lecture at a think-tank and pursue political dialogue with India. Both India and France have convergence over freedom of navigation in Indo-Pacific with Paris appointing a special envoy for the region.

To add to this will be arrival of seven Rafale fighters from France between April 19-23, after which the first squadron of the French omni-role fighter will be completed at Ambala air base. The remaining 18 fighters will be deployed at Hashimara in the eastern sector to cover the strategic Siliguri corridor.

India and France have cemented their bilateral relationship with convergence in UN Security Council and building up Indian Air Force’s capacity through purchase of medium transport aircraft and multi-role transport tankers. The two countries have also joined hands in development of air independent propulsion for conventional submarines for future Indian submersible ships.

 

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Archive opened for India - France relations.
 

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Indian Air Force announced on Wednesday that it has taken delivery of the 4th batch of Rafale fighter aircraft.

The details were given in a 31 March media release, to announce that the 4th batch of three Indian Air Force Rafale fighter jets landed on Indian soil after a direct ferry from
Istres Air Base France.

The IAF press release also added that Rafales were refueled in-flight by UAE Air Force tankers.

“This marks yet another milestone in the strong relationship between the two Air Forces,” said in a statement.

The Rafale, manufactured by French defense giant Dassault Aviation, entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006.

According to Dassault Aviation, the aircraft has a whopping 30,000 flight hours in operations.

India acquired Dassault Rafale multirole fighter aircraft under a government-to-government deal with France for the acquisition of 36 aircraft, signing a contract worth $9.27 billion in September 2016.

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While the French Navy is all set to lead 'La Perouse' Navy exercise where four nations - India, the US, Australia and Japan - are taking part, Rear Admiral Jacques Fayard has said that French Navy see Indian Navy as global security provider of Indo-Pacific region.

"We see Indian Navy as a global security provider of this strategic region," he told ANI.

Stressing that the Indo-Pacific is now a reality, the Rear Admiral further stated that his forces deployed in the Indian Ocean are part of the will of the French government to be part of solutions of all the tensions in this strategic region.

"We are balanced, eager to make sure that the international rules are overseen and freedom of navigation is enhanced everywhere on international waters," he said.

Speaking on India-France bilateral relations, Fayard mentioned: "We are engaged in the bilateral strategic relationship with India for a long time and this relationship is particularly enhanced in the naval domain as well. We are currently preparing for Varuna exercise, it's a very high-level interoperability exercise so in the next Varuna, we will be operating with some frigates, submarines of the Indian Navy."

While giving details about 'La Perouse', French Rear Admiral said, "La Perouse is an international naval exercise involving five countries namely France, the US, Australia, Japan and India. The aim of such multinational exercise is to be able to operate together and to practice our interoperability for networks, the way we are operating at our seas and we are very eager to work in such international framework."

He also lauded the other participating countries for coordinating with France in such an exercise.

Rear Admiral Fayard is in charge of the operational control of all French ships deployed from the Suez Canal towards the Malacca strait.

He also said there is no particular threat in that region as one million French citizens are there in the Indian Ocean.

"There are no particular threats as there are one million French citizens in the Indian Ocean. We are part of the Ocean and so we observe balance in order to be sure that all the international law of seas, the freedom of navigation, the international mechanisms are well respected in these very strategic areas," he said.

 

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By Milind Kulshreshtha

French multinational Naval exercise La Perouse (named after the eighteenth century French Naval explorer) is scheduled from 05th to 07thApril 2021 in the Bay of Bengal. Post conduct of La Perouse, the Indo-French Naval exercise “Varuna“ is scheduled in the Western Indian Ocean, wherein UAE too shall be participating.

It is for the first time that Indian warships shall be participating in La Perouse exercise, and this now completes the QUAD force representation in the French led naval exercise. Previously in 2019, La Perouse exercise saw the participation of the US, Japanese and Australia to showcase their common goal of maritime security in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific region. During the exercise, the US, Japan and Australia had deployed Destroyers, Frigates and submarines as part of the French Aircraft Carrier Task Group.

The role of the QUAD navies in the IOR (Indian Ocean Region) has been well illustrated by the effective cooperative engagement capabilities of the multi-national Naval powers through naval exercises like formation sailing, live fire drills, Search and Rescue (SAR) operations etc. Last year’s MALABAR-2020 had a full QUAD naval task force representation with the Australian warships too participating. It was an elaborate naval exercise which was conducted in two phases on India’s Eastern and Western seaboards. The highlight of the exercise was the deployment of the Aircraft Carrier Task forces jointly by US and India, well signifying the Naval might which can be put in the IOR. With the Indo-US LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement) in place, the US warships (including aircraft carriers) can get berths for refueling and repairs within the Indian ports. Interoperability amongst the QUAD Task Force too shall be possible whenCOMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) and BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement)are implemented in total.

Naval Significance of Indo-Pacific

The Naval diplomacy being displayed by India is an indicator of this shaping dynamics in the Indo-Pacific.

Indian Navy has always maintained a tactical advantage over the IOR to ensure compliance to the internationally established Rules of the Road (ROR) for the seas. This has been respected by the world (like declaration of warships transiting IOR etc.), but Indian Navy has observed and reported multiple sightings of undeclared Chinese ships and submarines suspiciously lurking within the IOR.

The Indo-Pacific is slowly but surely turning into a serious Naval Theatre for multi-national activities with a vision to establish a free, open, inclusive anda rule-based ordering of the Indo-Pacific to support the freedom of navigation and peaceful cooperative use of the seas. The goal is to respect and adhere to the international laws like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and peaceful resolution of territorial sea disputes instead of coercive actions to subdue a lesser developed nation.

On the other hand, China endeavours to establish a defensive perimeter around its seas (Yellow Sea, East China Sea and part of South China Sea) by following a sea denial policy in these regions. Other stakeholders in the region have opposed this and already hot disputes have occurred over the avowed claims (like over Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands).Similarly, Taiwan too forms a part of China’s sea denial strategy for controlling the North East Asian regions (especially Japan and Republic of Korea) in the future.

QUAD+ France Pacific Ocean Concerns

The region of Pacific Islands stretches from Hawaii in the north to Tonga in the south, and Easter Island in the east to New Caledonia in the west. In this region too, China is emerging as an important economic influencer in the small and remote Pacific Island nations. The pandemic has not really helped the situation for these countries and external support in terms of financial or other aid is difficult to refute by these smaller nations. China’s growing influence in the Pacific is also seen as a strategic threat to US security.

US interest in the Indo-Pacific region has always been well illustrated with the fact that US Indo-Pacific Command established after World War II is the largest unified command. It was re-designated as U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in 2018 mainly to focus on the connectivity between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific waters. A fleet travelling from Andaman Sea may take less than two days to reach the South China sea.The positioning of a large armada in the Indian Ocean shall be a force to reckon with, especially when it moves toward the contested South China Sea to test the waters for “freedom of navigation”. The Andaman Sea is considered as a choke point by China as it’s major seaborne supplies pass through this route before entering the narrow Malacca Strait. China has been working on a strategy to create alternative sea and land based supply paths as a safeguard and has established presence in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

France has a direct strategic and economic stake in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and Wallis and Futuna. France is a member of the Pacific Community and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Since 2018, France and Australia have a military Mutual Logistics Support Agreement in place. The two nations regularly hold combined Armed force training exercises in the Pacific and Southern Oceans.France is constructing twelve Attack Class submarines in Australia as part of a joint programme worth approx. USD 50 billion (with first delivery of HMAS Attack scheduled in early 2030’s).

Japan although has trade ties with China but has always been suspicious of China’s growth as a military power. China’s assertiveness closer to Japanese waters and airspace have been a testing time for Japan. The Chinese activities have been in the garb of training drills or fishing activities and multiple skirmishes with Japanese forces have occurred in the past. Such security challenges (from China) hastilted Japan towards participation in the new security relationships with key partners like India and Australia.

Conclusion

With France and QUAD navies coming together, other countries which have stakes in the Indo-Pacific (like the UK) may also be inclined to join the initiative. But for ASEAN countries to step forward in the QUAD Security dialogue, QUAD may require more economic muscle. Australia was in a position to sustain its commerce despite souring trade partnership with China. However, not many in the Indo-Pacific may have such a depth, especially during these pandemic times. Sino-India commerce too entails major interests for India. India needs to create a win-win situation for itself (especially when dealing with US and Russian military supplies) and diplomacy has a tight rope here. Dichotomy is that Russia shall be an important contributor to the modernization of the Indian Navy so that it can participate as a potent arm within the QUAD Naval operations.

(The author is a Strategic Analyst and C4I expert. Email: [email protected] Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)
 
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crixus

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I have one question how mig 29k can interact with French E2 hawkeye, I think they are incompatible
 

Nilgiri

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I have one question how mig 29k can interact with French E2 hawkeye, I think they are incompatible

There would be some interoperability in secure domain. Its not fully incompatible, as exercises and cooperation has been going for nearly 2 decades now....so there are likely exercise modules for both side datalinks.

But limited till India and NATO countries find more common ground standards on what sy COMCASA has opened. Specific broader modules etc, these need to be developed for full interoperability.

The pictures themselves are carrier ops throwback of earlier Varuna exericses I believe (2019 and 2015 maybe).

Uncertain what ships will be in la perouse (with all the quad involved), lets see.

Ex. Varuna will be after it....and include UAE this time (i.e India-France-UAE).
 

crixus

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There would be some interoperability in secure domain. Its not fully incompatible, as exercises and cooperation has been going for nearly 2 decades now....so there are likely exercise modules for both side datalinks.

But limited till India and NATO countries find more common ground standards on what sy COMCASA has opened. Specific broader modules etc, these need to be developed for full interoperability.

The pictures themselves are carrier ops throwback of earlier Varuna exericses I believe (2019 and 2015 maybe).

Uncertain what ships will be in la perouse (with all the quad involved), lets see.

Ex. Varuna will be after it....and include UAE this time (i.e India-France-UAE)
I think India has some kind of Data Link to operate between western, Indian, and Russian platforms. In India, almost all surveillance platforms are non-Russian origin and weapon platforms are of Russian origin so hope India has achieved some kind of interoperability
 

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Dassault paid 1 million euro as 'gift' to Indian middleman in Rafale deal: French report​

Dassault, the manufacturer of Rafale jets, agreed to pay one million euro to an Indian middleman just after the signing of the Indo-French contract in 2016, according to an investigation by a French publication.​

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Ankit Kumar
New DelhiApril 5, 2021UPDATED: April 5, 2021 11:07 IST


An amount of 508,925 Euros was allegedly paid under "gifts to clients" head in the 2017 accounts of the Dassault group (AFP image for representation)

The manufacturer of French combat jet Rafale agreed to pay one million euro to a middleman in India just after the signing of the Indo-French contract in 2016, an investigation by the French publication Mediapart has revealed. An amount of 508,925 euro was allegedly paid under "gifts to clients" head in the 2017 accounts of the Dassault group.

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The irregularity was first discovered by the inspectors of the French Anti-Corruption Agency, Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA), during their scheduled audit of Dassault.
"The company said the money was used to pay for the manufacture of 50 large replica models of Rafale jets, even though the inspectors were given no proof that these models were made," Mediapart reported citing the confidential audit report on Sunday evening.
This amount "seemed disproportionate in relation to all the other entries", said a subsequent confidential report of the AFA audit.
The French Anti-Corruption Agency, however, did not flag the prosecution authorities over the alleged payment, which, according to the French publication, "raises questions over both the justice system and the political authorities".
The audit coincided with a tip received by the French public prosecution services' financial crimes branch, the Parquet National Financier (PNF), in October 2018 which alleged irregularities in the defence deal.
According to the AFA report accessed by Mediapart, Dassault tried to justify "the larger than usual gift" with a proforma invoice from an Indian company called Defsys Solutions.
Dated March 30, 2017, the invoice suggested that Defsys was paid 50 per cent of an order worth 1,017,850 for manufacturing of 50 dummy models of the Rafale jets. Each dummy, according to the AFA report, was quoted at a hefty price of 20,357.
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However, the Dassault group reportedly was unable to provide any documentary evidence to the AFA inspectors, which could establish the existence of those models. Dassault could also not explain why the expenditure was listed as a "gift to clients" in their accounts.
Defsys is one of the subcontractors of Dassault in India which has been linked with controversial businessman Sushen Gupta. Sushen Gupta was earlier arrested and later granted bail for his alleged role in another major defence scam in India, the AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper case.
The Enforcement Directorate has charged Sushen Gupta for allegedly devising a money-laundering scheme for the payouts during the purchase of the helicopters. Dassault and Defsys have not yet issued a statement in this regard.
Speaking with India Today TV, Mediapart reporter Yann Philippin who reported the story said this was first of his three-part investigation on the controversial Indo-French fighter jet deal.
"The biggest revelations are due for episode 3,” he told India Today TV.
The 7.8 billion government-to-government deal for 36 fighter jets was signed in 2016. The Indian Air Force has already raised its first squadron of the Rafale jets at Ambala and is due to raise the second one at Hasimara in West Bengal.
@Nilgiri @Zapper @Jackdaws @FalconSlayersDFI
 

Nilgiri

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Not surprising, graft runs very high by default in defence deals in general (and India for sure).

Just depends if anyone (credible + purposed) interested to poke around the paper trails and rumours.
 

crixus

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Not surprising, graft runs very high by default in defence deals in general (and India for sure).

Just depends if anyone (credible + purposed) interested to poke around the paper trails and rumours.
It's just news to delay the ongoing negotiations, now Indians are not fools to believe that a bribe of 7 crores for the deal worth of 56000 crores.
Now I can bet we will have Naval version too
 

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Dassault paid 1 million euro as 'gift' to Indian middleman in Rafale deal: French report​

Dassault, the manufacturer of Rafale jets, agreed to pay one million euro to an Indian middleman just after the signing of the Indo-French contract in 2016, according to an investigation by a French publication.​

ADVERTISEMENT


Ankit Kumar
New DelhiApril 5, 2021UPDATED: April 5, 2021 11:07 IST


An amount of 508,925 Euros was allegedly paid under "gifts to clients" head in the 2017 accounts of the Dassault group (AFP image for representation)

The manufacturer of French combat jet Rafale agreed to pay one million euro to a middleman in India just after the signing of the Indo-French contract in 2016, an investigation by the French publication Mediapart has revealed. An amount of 508,925 euro was allegedly paid under "gifts to clients" head in the 2017 accounts of the Dassault group.

ADVERTISING

The irregularity was first discovered by the inspectors of the French Anti-Corruption Agency, Agence Française Anticorruption (AFA), during their scheduled audit of Dassault.
"The company said the money was used to pay for the manufacture of 50 large replica models of Rafale jets, even though the inspectors were given no proof that these models were made," Mediapart reported citing the confidential audit report on Sunday evening.
This amount "seemed disproportionate in relation to all the other entries", said a subsequent confidential report of the AFA audit.
The French Anti-Corruption Agency, however, did not flag the prosecution authorities over the alleged payment, which, according to the French publication, "raises questions over both the justice system and the political authorities".
The audit coincided with a tip received by the French public prosecution services' financial crimes branch, the Parquet National Financier (PNF), in October 2018 which alleged irregularities in the defence deal.
According to the AFA report accessed by Mediapart, Dassault tried to justify "the larger than usual gift" with a proforma invoice from an Indian company called Defsys Solutions.
Dated March 30, 2017, the invoice suggested that Defsys was paid 50 per cent of an order worth 1,017,850 for manufacturing of 50 dummy models of the Rafale jets. Each dummy, according to the AFA report, was quoted at a hefty price of 20,357.
ADVERTISEMENT

However, the Dassault group reportedly was unable to provide any documentary evidence to the AFA inspectors, which could establish the existence of those models. Dassault could also not explain why the expenditure was listed as a "gift to clients" in their accounts.
Defsys is one of the subcontractors of Dassault in India which has been linked with controversial businessman Sushen Gupta. Sushen Gupta was earlier arrested and later granted bail for his alleged role in another major defence scam in India, the AgustaWestland VVIP Chopper case.
The Enforcement Directorate has charged Sushen Gupta for allegedly devising a money-laundering scheme for the payouts during the purchase of the helicopters. Dassault and Defsys have not yet issued a statement in this regard.
Speaking with India Today TV, Mediapart reporter Yann Philippin who reported the story said this was first of his three-part investigation on the controversial Indo-French fighter jet deal.
"The biggest revelations are due for episode 3,” he told India Today TV.
The 7.8 billion government-to-government deal for 36 fighter jets was signed in 2016. The Indian Air Force has already raised its first squadron of the Rafale jets at Ambala and is due to raise the second one at Hasimara in West Bengal.
@Nilgiri @Zapper @Jackdaws @FalconSlayersDFI
Wouldn't be surprised and I'm sure IAF's top brass and MoD babus received a lot more kickbacks for this deal. This is the exact reason why MoD/IAF should drop MMRCA 2.0 once and for all and just stick to MWF
 

crixus

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Wouldn't be surprised and I'm sure IAF's top brass and MoD babus received a lot more kickbacks for this deal. This is the exact reason why MoD/IAF should drop MMRCA 2.0 once and for all and just stick to MWF
No one can reject the chance of bribes but in govt to govt deals, chances are less because when govt involves the stakes are political than financial
This 1 million dollar allegation just a try to delay the further orders, I agree with you buy 2-3 more squadrons of Rafale get the MBDA approval to integrate all rafale weapons with LCA and MWF, if possible use French help in design and sensor integration with single-engine MWF
 

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The corruption. Curse of our times. Is any defence deal ever clean? Or are they always dirty? Soldiers die for few pounds and the elite rake millions. Looks like this curse eveywhere. Life ....
 

Zapper

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No one can reject the chance of bribes but in govt to govt deals, chances are less because when govt involves the stakes are political than financial
You think this G-to-G deal doesn't involve significant bribes!! I'm sure the French were fed up of our crappy delayed process and must've offered few IAF/MoD folks lucrative kickbacks to get the deal done even if its a smaller order.
 

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