New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) Indian Navy Chief Sunil Lanba is visiting France on a five-day bilateral visit, an official statement said on Monday.
Admiral Lanba, who is also the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, began his visit, which aims to consolidate cooperation between both armed forces and also to explore new avenues of defence cooperation, on Sunday and it will conclude on November 10.
During his visit, the Navy Chief will hold bilateral discussions with French Defence Minister Florence Parly, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Francois Lecointre, French Navy chief, Admiral Christophe Prazuck, Director General, Armament, Gen. Joel Barre and Director General International Relations and Strategy, Vice Admiral Hervede Bonnaventure.
In addition to holding important bilateral discussions, Lanba will be visiting the Maritime Prefectures at Brest and Cherbourg, and be conducted around the Maritime Operations Centre.
He will also visit the French Airbase at Landivisiau, where he will be briefed on the operational employability of the Rafale aircraft by the French Air Force, and also visit the French Submarine Facility at Cherbourg.
India and France have traditionally maintained close and friendly relations. The two countries established a Strategic Partnership in 1998, thereby significantly enhancing bilateral cooperation in strategic areas such as defence, nuclear energy and space.
India has been importing critical defence technologies from France; the latest being the Rafale fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force and the Scorpene submarines for the Indian Navy.A
The Indian Navy cooperates with the French Navy on many issues, which include operational interactions such as the Varuna series of bilateral exercises, training exchanges, exchange of shipping information and subject matter experts in various fields through the medium of Staff Talks.
Warships from Indian Navy have been regularly visiting ports at France, with Indian Naval ships Mumbai, Trishul and Aditya making port call at Toulon from April 24-27 this year.
French Navy ship Auvergne, a Fremm Class Frigate, also visited the Indian naval base at Karwar October 2-6.
The Indian Army and Air Force also maintain robust cooperation with the French Army and Air Force. The Indian Army conducts the biennial exercise Shakti with the French Army, whilst the Indian Air Force conducts the Garuda series of exercises annually.
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