“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,” the minister, who earlier had a phone conversation with Singh, has written.
France, a key partner as well as weapons supplier to India with cutting-edge platforms ranging from Rafale fighter jets to Scorpene submarines, has also proposed a visit by Parly to follow up on the “ongoing discussions” and has reiterated its “deep solidarity” in this time of tensions.
This is also the first defence minister-level visit proposed by a friendly nation since the Covid crisis broke out, indicating that Paris wishes to convey its deep commitment to India. Rajnath Singh visited Russia last week and discussed the ongoing crisis with China and India’s requirements with the top leadership in Moscow.
As first reported by ET, France has promised to deliver additional combat ready Rafale jets next month and even committed that it will deploy its aerial refuelers to ensure that the jets make it to India with just a single hop.
On a request from India, fighter pilots currently in France have also been given specialised training for aerial refuelling. Cutting-edge weaponry on jets, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles are being sent ahead of time.
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