Amid the controversy raging over the 2016 Rafale deal signed between India and France, the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman paid a visit to the plant of Dassault Aviation of French Aersospace in Argenteuil near Paris.
Sitharaman also met the CEO of Dassault Aviation Eric Trappier on the visit.
The Defence Minister is on a three-day visit to France for the India-France first Defence Dialogue in an annual Ministerial level.
During the dialogue which was held here on 11th October, the two Defence Minister reviewed the bilateral defence cooperation and held talks over extending partnership for further deals and business.
Both sides discussed ways to deepen defence-related official as well as operational level interactions. It was agreed to expand the scope and complexity of the regular joint exercises, namely Shakti, Varuna and Garuda in the future.
To increase the command over Indian Ocean, both the countries agreed for various drills and strategic partnerships amongst the defence sector.
Both the ministers noted the continuing implementation of the "Joint Strategic Vision of India-France cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region".
Smt. @nsitharaman and the Minister of Armed Forces of France, H.E. Ms. @florence_parly at the 1st Ministerial meeting of the bilateral Annual Defence Dialogue between India and France in Paris on 11th Oct 2018. pic.twitter.com/pSzqk0Qn3U— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) October 12, 2018
The Congress has been accusing the Centre of irregularities in the high-profile Defence fighter jets contract, alleging that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Althoygh later on, the Dassault Aviation clarified that it had "freely chosen" India's Reliance Group for a partnership to set up joint-venture Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd (DRAL) to manufacture parts for Rafale aircraft and Falcon 2000 business jets.