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French Defence Minister meets Antony during India visit


Defence Minister A K Antony shakes hands with his French counterpart Gerard Longuet during a meeting in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and France have discussed ways to enhance military cooperation as their Defence Ministers met here against the backdrop of moves to finalise a mega fighter deal for which French company Dassault has been shortlisted.

The 45 minute-long meeting between Defence Minister A K Antony and his French counterpart Gerard Longuet took place at South Block here on Thursday.

"The two Defence Ministers met for 45 minutes and discuss several issues. The French Defence Minister also met Army Chief General V K Singh and Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma," Defence Ministry officials said.

The meeting assumes significance in the wake of India selecting French defence company Dassault and European Consortium's EADS Cassidian for the final round of $ 10.4 billion deal for Medium-Range Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).

While Dassault has pitched in with Rafale fighter jets, EADS is offering India its latest fighter aircraft Eurofighter Typhoon.

India is also expected to approve the up-gradation of around 50 Mirage-2000 supersonic fighter jets which are presently considered as backbone of the Indian Air Force's air-strike capability.

Procured from France, the up-gradation would cost around $2.4 billion and is considered as one of the most significant defence deals between India and France.

Antony also met Secretary of United States’ Homeland Security Janet Napolitano for 45 minutes.

The Defence Minister would also meet the German Defence Minister on May 31 and his Afghan counterpart on June 1.

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India  France  MMRCA  

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