France has become the first country to offer India the support of its armed forces amid growing tensions on the China border and has proposed a visit by its defence minister to New Delhi at the earliest. In a letter to defence minister Rajnath Singh.
Minister of the Armed Forces of France, Florence Parly, has said that India is France’s strategic partner in the region and has conveyed her condolences for the loss of its soldiers during the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15.
“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.
France is the first nation to organise a defense minister-level since the pandemic broke out, indicating its deep commitment to India. Earlier reported that 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.