<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maritime security and technological partnership under the Make In India programme while keeping the Rafale fighter jets deal in mind will top the agenda during the two-day visit of French Defence Minister Florence Parly starting Friday. She will meet her counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.The possibility of selling more Rafale fighter jets to the Indian Air Force could also come up in the deliberations.Significantly, the French Minister will visit Mihan near Nagpur where she will participate in the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Dassault-Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL), a joint venture between the two companies that will carry out offset requirements as part of the Rafale deal.India has already finalised a deal for purchase of 36 French Rafale fighter jets, but with the Indian Air Force expressing the need for more, the facility can be used for future manufacturing.”DRAL will be part of the upcoming Aerospace Park in Nagpur and plans to develop an indigenous value-added supply chain, thereby building a strong base for the success of the Rafale programme under the Make In India initiative,” a statement from the French Embassy said.Cooperation on maritime security is crucial in wake of increasing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region.The French Minister will also visit Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) and the Western Naval Command in Mumbai. At MDL shipyard, she will visit the yard where Scorpene submarines are being made in India with transfer of technology under the P75 project by MDL. She will also board the INS Kalvari, the first of these six Scorpene submarines delivered to the Indian Navy.Joint exercises between armed armed forces of the two countries counter-terrorism will also be part of the defence cooperation initiatives that will be discussed.
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