New Delhi: Ambassador of France to India Emmanuel Lenain has stated that every one contracted Rafales are to be delivered to India by April 2022. France and India have fashioned a key partnership in protection. Talking to our Principal Diplomatic Correspondent, Sidhant Sibal on board the French Navy ship Chevalier Paul he stated, “We really feel that we’re nation of the area… we really feel we’re India’s neighbor… we’ve got territories within the area”.
He additionally spoke on AUKUS pact, calling it a “shock and main disappointment” and was “a significant breach of belief”. The AUKUS pact between Australia, US and UK, Canberra will get nuclear submarine however earlier cope with France was known as off.
Sidhant Sibal: How do you see Indo-French Relationship? The 2 heads met just lately on the sidelines of G20 in Rome.
Emmanuel Lenain: All alongside since previous two years, we’ve got been speaking over the cellphone because of the Covid disaster. There may be an distinctive stage of belief and confidence between the 2 leaders. They share the identical aspiration for strategic autonomy for his or her nation.
Sidhant Sibal: Defence has turn out to be a key pillar on this relationship. In reality, it is also being stated that France would possibly change Russia with regards to India’s defence relationship. How do you see this relationship prospering & the 2 international locations partaking sooner or later?
Emmanuel Lenain: I’d say it is nothing new. We’ve been cooperating for many years now. First jet plane had been equipped in Nineteen Fifties okay/a ‘TOOFANI’ and since then, we’ve got been cooperating on Jaguar, Mirage 2000 and now Rafale. The identical goes for the navy, we’ve got had excellent cooperation. Varuna Naval Train was held just lately. La Pérouse was in April this yr together with QUAD international locations.
Sidhant Sibal: How do you see arrival of Chevalier Paul in Mumbai?
Emmanuel Lenain: It is a good image of our joint dedication to make sure safety and freedom of navigation within the Indo-Pacific. We need to do extra on this regard. This is not a pure go to by a ship of the French Navy.
It was additionally the event to have a two-day train the place we’ve got been texting planes from each international locations (16 of them), testing the flexibility of India and its functionality to withstand an assault from the air efficiently. I believe it has been very encouraging to see it.
Sidhant Sibal: Are you able to give us particulars concerning the Rafale jet arrival in India?
Emmanuel Lenain: Most of them have arrived and it’s a matter of delight for us. Regardless of all of the hardship of the final two years throughout the COVID-19 disaster, we’ve got been capable of ship on time. In France, groups have been working additional shifts to have the ability to fulfill the dedication. As of at present, 30 have been delivered to India. So, we’re on time and we’re going to attain the goal of getting all of the 36 delivered by April of subsequent yr.
Sidhant Sibal: You might be among the many first international locations to have come out with an announcement on the imaginative and prescient relating to Indo-Pacific Area. What sort of position can the French play within the area?
Emmanuel Lenain: We really feel that we’re a rustic of the area. We really feel we’re India’s neighbour. We’ve territories within the area with the substantial space and withholding two million French folks. We’ve a second Financial Zone worldwide, which is one thing essential. We even have 7,000 troops within the area and ships guaranteeing freedom of navigation.
So, we see we’ve got a really massive position to play within the area. We’ve a job alone in addition to with European companions as you’ll have seen we’ve got been a driving power to craft European Indo-Pacific Technique, which has been very just lately introduced and which goes to be our frequent framework for the longer term. It is a very broad and bold technique. Clearly on army facets in addition to all the pieces pertaining to infrastructure, connectivity, and so forth, I believe how we’ve got to cope with the worldwide technique.
Sidhant Sibal: What do you concentrate on the influence of AUKUS with regard to the trilateral talked about, India-France-Australia?
Emmanuel Lenain: AUKUS was a shock and main disappointment. It can take a while to attract the results of the pact. It isn’t a industrial difficulty as you already know. It is a main breach of belief between allies and that is one thing which is essential.
Now, our dedication to safety in Indo-Pacific is whole. It does not change it and on opposite, it might improve it. We all know we’re on the identical web page and we’ve got companions like India and we additionally need to pace up as a result of we share the identical imaginative and prescient.
We do not need some other nation to supply us our safety. We wish our means, our autonomy. We’re a sovereign nation and need to determine our personal future.
We consider in world technique and do not consider in purely army confrontation block towards block technique. We predict many international locations within the area share the identical feeling that this is able to improve rigidity within the area. We don’t need to see it.
We really feel that technique have to be a holistic one which we want not solely to construct some army property but additionally to supply different and optimistic ones. International locations within the area need to develop, which is legit. They need to construct infrastructure, roads, ports, means to finance them. We need to be there with India to supply this different and have a extra world technique with India and our European companions.
Sidhant Sibal: What about counterterrorism?
Emmanuel Lenain: Our cooperation on counterterrorism may be very robust. Each nations have been a sufferer of it. It is very operational cooperation. Our businesses share inputs, intelligence via finest practices. Our elite groups are working along with Black Cats and NSGs. We’re additionally engaged on a multilateral framework in UNSC and India’s presence in UNSC this yr is essential.
We’re proponents of the thought and we wish to see India getting a everlasting seat in UNSC. Our cooperation has made it attainable to enlist terrorists like Massoud Azhar within the sanctions checklist. It is also true that we need to deal with the roots of terrorism like attacking the financing of terrorism. India has accepted to host the subsequent summit or convention on ‘No Cash Towards Terror’, which is the method began by France three years in the past.
Sidhant Sibal: Can we see some high-level engagement in bodily phrases?
Emmanuel Lenain: The 2 leaders are very keen to fulfill in individual to have a substantive dialogue. Within the close to future, this could happen. I will not be stunned.