India and France have firmed up a mutually beneficial defence industrial partnership roadmap for joint development and production of key military projects and technology collaboration across spheres such as space, land warfare, cyberspace, and artificial intelligence, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said on Friday.

This follows bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in Jaipur on Thursday, where the two discussed multiple issues ranging from defence, space, education, health, mobility, and economic cooperation to the situation in Gaza and the Red Sea crisis.

Macron attended India’s 75th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi as the chief guest.

Modi, Macron meet in Jaipur, participate in roadshow

Defence production

The decision on adopting a defence production roadmap comes after India shared a blueprint of defence industrial co-operation in October 2023 so that both nations could flag core areas, including land warfare systems and equipment, robotics, autonomous platforms, and cyber, for working jointly. businessline exclusively reported this on November 15.

“The roadmap will involve identifying areas for partnership in the defence industrial sector that prioritise co-designing, co-development, and co-production, and also building the defence supply chains between the two countries so that they can not only fulfil the defence needs of India and France but also be a useful contributor to the security partnership with other countries who might be in use of similar products,” Kwatra said.

It will include both space and air technology; maritime technology, including underwater domain awareness; equipment and systems related to land warfare; and also robotics, AI, and autonomous vehicles and platforms, he added.

Key pacts

The Foreign Secretary also announced other key pacts, including an industrial partnership between Tata and Airbus helicopters for the production of H125 helicopters with a significant indigenous and localization component, an agreement on a defence space partnership, and an MoU between New Space India Limited (NSIL) and Arianespace on satellite launches.

The Final Assembly Line (FAL) for H125 single-engine helicopters will be set up in Vadodara, Gujarat. This is the second major deal between the two aerospace players after the ₹21,000 crore contract signed in 2021 for supplying 56 C-295 transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

Modi and Macron also discussed the situation in Ukraine, Gaza, and the Red Sea crisis.

“With regards to developments in the Red Sea, the potential disruptions and the actual things happening in the maritime domain there that are causing disruption to commercial shipping is a matter of serious concern, and both leaders focused on it,” Kwatra said.

The Foreign Secretary said that agreements were reached on mobility for young professionals and confirmed that a five-year Schengen visa provision for Indian students completing their Masters in France will be activated.

Other agreements signed included ones between the Department of Science and Technology and French counterpart institutions. There would be collaborations on research in clean energy, decarbonised hydrogen, applied mathematics, digital technology, and precision agriculture.

There were also pacts on healthcare co-operation, education, training, and research that would include the space of digital health and the use of artificial intelligence in the healthcare sector.

“It’s been agreed that the year 2026 will be celebrated as the India-France year of innovation,” Kwatra said.