India, Italy sign pact to deepen defence cooperation – Hindustan Times

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New Delhi: India and Italy signed an agreement on defence cooperation on Monday during defence minister Rajnath Singh’s official visit to the country, officials aware of the matter said on Tuesday.
The agreement will promote bilateral cooperation in areas such as security and defence policy, research and development, education in military field, maritime domain awareness, sharing of defence information, and industrial cooperation including co-development, co-production and setting up of joint ventures, the defence ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
The pact was concluded after Singh held talks with his Italian counterpart Guido Crosetto on a raft of defence cooperation issues.
“The focus was on the opportunities in defence industrial cooperation,” the statement added.
During the talks, Singh suggested promoting interaction between Indian start-ups and Italian defence companies.
The relationship between India and Italy was elevated to strategic partnership in March 2023 during the visit of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to India.
Also Read: Defence minister Rajnath Singh to embark on 4-day visit to France, Italy from Monday
In the second leg of his visit, Singh will hold the 5th Annual Defence Dialogue with his French counterpart Sebastien Lecornu in Paris this week. The visit to France comes at a time when India is pursuing some major military acquisitions from that country including maritime fighter jets. A road map for defence cooperation is likely to be announced in Paris.
India and France recently celebrated 25 years of their strategic partnership.
Singh’s visit to France comes at a time when India is looking at buying 26 Rafale M fighters from the French for the navy’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, the 45,000-tonne INS Vikrant. The Rafale M edged out the American F/A-18 Super Hornet in a direct competition to equip the navy with new deck-based fighters.
India will also build three more Scorpene-class submarines in the country with technology from France to boost the navy’s undersea capabilities. The two deals are estimated to have a combined value of €9 billion to €10 billion, though the final price will be determined after complex negotiations between New Delhi and Paris.

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