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France signs defense and security deals with Indian firms

By Sheetal Sukhija, Calcutta News
11 Mar 2018, 18:55 GMT+10

NEW DELHI, India - In a meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to deepen defense and security ties with India. 

During Macron’s first day in India, the French presidency said in a statement that French and Indian companies signed contracts worth $16 billion.

According to the statement, the deals include a contract for France's Safran to supply airline Spice Jet with engines, water system modernization by Suez in the southern city of Davangere.

It also includes a contract between industrial gas company Air Liquide and Sterlite.

Addressing a news conference in New Delhi, Macron and Modi also committed to strengthening their partnership on defense and security.

Modi said in a statement, "Whether it's the environment, naval security and resources, or freedom of navigation and overflight, we are committed to making our partnership stronger on all these fronts. We consider France one of our most reliable defense allies."

Further, the Indian Prime Minister also hailed France's commitment to making defense and security equipment in India and contributing to Modi's flagship "Make in India" plan to boost local manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Macron said that the countries had decided to do more together to fight terrorism and put together a strategy to share intelligence.

The French President said, "Our navies will be able to call our respective military bases ... we will also have our space agencies conducting some joint monitoring of the maritime area. The Pacific or the Indian Ocean cannot be places for hegemonic powers."

In its statement, Macron's office also added that some 200 million euros of investment would be made in India. 

However, it did not provide an exact breakdown of the value or details of the business contracts.

On Saturday, Indian carrier Spice Jet disclosed details of the engine deal in a statement, saying it will spend $12.5 billion to buy engines from CFM International, the engine maker co-owned by General Electric and France's Safran, and have them serviced.

As part of the deal, Spice Jet will reportedly buy LEAP-1B engines for its 155 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as well as spare engines. 

The statement added that CFM will provide maintenance for all LEAP-1B engines that power SpiceJet's 737 MAX planes for 10 years.

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