New Delhi: A two-day meeting of the tenth India-France High Committee on Defence Cooperation (HCC) is scheduled to begin here today. The meeting will discuss defence related activities such as joint exercises, high-level visits, transfer of technology and activities relating to co-development and co-production.
The meeting will be co-chaired by defence secretary, Vijay Singh, and representative of the French minister of defence, Thierry Borja de Mozota. The High Committee has three sub-committees functioning under it. The sub committee on military cooperation has representatives from the headquarters of integrated defence services and the three services. The second sub committee deals with strategic issues while the third one deals with defence industry procurement and research and technology.
The sub committee on military cooperation will roll out plans for service-to-service activities for the forthcoming year, while the sub committee on strategic issues will discuss matters relating to regional issues. The sub committee on defence industry procurement, research and technology will discuss the transfer of technology, joint development and production.
A bilateral MoU related to the supply of defence equipment already exists between the two countries and was signed with France in January 1982 in the context of the sale of Mirage aircraft. The MoU aimed at ensuring uninterrupted supply of defence equipment, services and related technology from France to India.
A Defence Cooperation Working Group set up under the MoU met regularly until 1995, when it was interrupted because of a French move to sell Mirage 2000 aircraft to Pakistan.
Subsequently, as a result of initiative of the former president, Jacques Chirac, during his visit to India in 1998, a Government-to-Government agreement was reached and cooperation in the field of defence was revitalized. Subsequently, the Indo-French High Committee on Defence Cooperation meetings have been conducted every year in India and France on an alternative basis.
The ninth meeting of this committee was held on November 9, 2006 in Paris.