India and France have decided to ensure interoperability between the three branches of their armed forces for better coordination in the Indo-Pacific region and for fighting terrorism, a task made smoother by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent announcement of appointing a chief of defence staff (CDS).
France already has the post of CDS and the appointment of an Indian counterpart will make coordination easier, said people aware of the matter. They said the growing partnership between the armed forces of the two countries made it imperative to have the element of interoperability.
The joint statement released after last week’s bilateral summit said: “Hailing the success of the 2019 editions of the Varuna naval and the Garuda air exercises, as well as the preparations for the Shakti exercise, which will be held in autumn in India, France and India are determined to further strengthen the cooperation between their armed forces and in this connection are working towards increased interoperability as well as pursuing deliberations to develop joint forces cooperation. The signing of agreement regarding the provision of reciprocal logistics support is a manifestation of this endeavour.”
In his remarks to the media after the summit with the Indian PM in Paris on Thursday night, French President Emmanuel Macron said: “We have strengthened our maritime cooperation, we have strengthened our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. The Indo-French Varuna exercises off the Goa coast in May were on an unprecedented scale with the participation of six vessels each from our respective navies, including our aircraft carriers.”