France retains spot as India’s dependable strategic accomplice


Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29

The 5 Rafale fighter jets that landed on Wednesday at Ambala don’t represent even half a squadron. But their supply as soon as once more brings again the highlight on France which has remained India’s trusted accomplice by the Cold War and past.

Just two years after India’s independence and a 12 months earlier than US President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech that opened the doorways for multi-country civil nuclear collaboration, France and India had collaborated in a mission to extract thorium from monazite sand. It was a dead-end but it surely in flip led to a partnership that lasted until India carried out its first nuclear take a look at in 1974.

But when India carried out its second nuclear take a look at in 1998, Russia and France had been the one main powers that didn’t succumb this time to the Anglo-US stress to cancel navy and safety exchanges.

A 12 months later, France made emergency provides of ammunition through the Kargil struggle that was utilized by Mirage planes for correct and debilitating strikes on Pakistani sangars on steep mountainsides.

However, French navy machines had been doing yeoman’s service for the Indian armed forces a lot earlier than the Mirages arrived. The Cheetah and the Chetak that feed and equip Indian troopers in forbidding heights are additionally of French origin.

Military ties, nevertheless, started simply seven years after Independence. Over 100 Mystere fighter jets from France that joined the Indian Air Force had been capable of match the American Starfighters in dogfights through the 1965 Indo-Pakistan struggle.

While extra Rafale will preserve arriving and a few could ultimately be assembled right here, the shut private ties between French President Emmanuel Macron and PM Narendra Modi could ultimately result in a stronger partnership within the maritime area, particularly within the Western Indian Ocean the place the Chinese risk is looming and the US is lukewarm about partnering with India.

India and France have trod that path earlier than. Paris had helped set up two listening stations on India’s western coast. These had been to be linked with related ones in Iran and France for a complete protection of the western Indian Ocean. But the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran ended that initiative.

With French origin Scorpene submarines being steadily inducted within the Indian Navy, India and France have been revisiting the opportunity of partnering within the blue waters.



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