India and France have a lot in common as two of the great democracies of the world

France reiterated its support to India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.

"France supports India's candidacy for (permanent seat) in the UNSC," French Defence Minister Florence Parly said during her address at Rafale’s induction ceremony at Ambala air base on Thursday. She highlighted India's election as a non-permanent member in the UNSC for a two-year term beginning in January 2021,”saying it "represents an opportunity to promote international peace and security together."

Earlier, India and France decided to work in identified industrial areas, while strengthening military cooperation between the two countries. This was the outcome of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and visiting French Defence Minister talks on the sidelines of Rafale induction ceremony. The two ministers had joined in the induction ceremony of the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets at Ambala air base.

“Had fruitful discussions with the French Defence Minister, Ms @florence_parly today. We have decided to continue working on identified industrial areas and issues of military to military cooperation. I have invited French manufacturers to invest in India’s defense corridors.” Defense Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted after the meeting.

“India and France have a lot in common as two of the great democracies of the world. We look forward to enhancing our bilateral relationship even further,” he said in another tweet.

At Ambala, while talking about Rafale jets, Parley said, "Rafale has taken a leading role in Mali, helping destroy armed terror groups and support friendly troops in contact. As part of international military intervention against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, they operate in difficult conditions far from their bases, taking advantage of their huge operational range of striking distant targets with surgical precision.”

Parly extended support to India and said that the strategic partnership is based on mutual understanding, common interests, and deep trust.

The French Defense Minister underlined that France is entirely committed to the Make in India initiative.

"The Make in India has been a reality for the French industry for several years particularly for defense equipment such as submarines. Many French companies and design offices are now established in India and I hope that others will offer their support and services," she said.

Defense Minister Singh presented a memento to the French Defense Minister during the induction ceremony.

The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. The next batch of the jets is likely to arrive in October, and the last of the 36 aircraft will come to India by the end of 2021.

“#RafaleInduction IAF has formally inducted the #Rafale aircraft in 17 Squadron 'Golden Arrows' today, at Air Force Station, Ambala. The ceremony also marks #Rafale’s full operational entry into IAF. Glimpses of the Rafale in action with IAF,” the official handle of Indian Air Force (IAF) tweeted.

After returning to Delhi, Parly discussed with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on ways to further boost bilateral defense and security cooperation.