A leading French defence major is set to produce an engine for a military platform in India as part of a joint venture with an Indian company under the strategic partnership model, a move aimed at further ramping up defence cooperation between the two countries.
In an address at an industry chamber on Saturday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh referred to the move that was agreed to in his wide-ranging talks with his French counterpart, Florence Parly.
Though the defence minister did not specify about the engine and its use, people familiar with the development said the project will be focussed on the requirement for military helicopters that India plans to roll out in the next few years.
Singh held talks with Parly on Friday with a focus on further boosting co-development and co-production of various platforms.
“It was a matter of manufacturing of an engine. I am happy to say that the French government has agreed that a major French company will come to India and produce the engine here under the strategic partnership with an Indian company,” he said, referring to his talks with Parly.
The defence minister made the remarks to emphasise that India has clearly been sending out a message to the United States, Russia, France and many of its partner countries that military platforms and equipment required by the Indian armed forces will have to be manufactured in India.
The people cited above said India and France have been in talks for the engine project.
In 2017, India unveiled the ambitious strategic partnership (SP) model to facilitate joint ventures between select private Indian firms and foreign defence majors to build military platforms like submarines and fighter jets in the country.
The model aims to create a vibrant defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country through joint ventures between Indian corporates and global defence majors.
India has already spent Rs 2,035 crore for the development of a fighter jet engine to power indigenously-built aircraft.However, the Kaveri engine project is yet to be completed.
The engine project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security in 1989 and was primarily rolled out for India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) TEJAS program.
After the talks between Singh and Parly, the defence ministry said they discussed defence industrial cooperation with a focus on future collaborations and co-production of equipment.
The ministers acknowledged their convergences on a number of strategic and defence issues.
They expressed commitment to work together to enhance cooperation in bilateral, regional and multilateral forums,” it said in a statement.