France and Rafel advance in India while the United States and Russia lag behind

World News

According to reports, Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, has given Safran permission to collaborate with India on a project. The twin-engine deck-based fighter for Indian aircraft carriers and the twin-engine Advanced Multirole Combat Aircraft [AMCA] for India are both affected by this.

An agreement to produce General Electric GE F-414 jet engines in India for the Tejas-2 fighter aircraft with 80% knowledge transfer was struck by India and the US last month. 31 MQ-9B drones were also purchased as part of the transaction. The AMCA fifth-generation stealth plane will be powered by a new 110kN high-thrust jet engine that France is apparently offering a complete technology transfer for.

Uncertainty exists over the specifics of the Indo-US partnership on the F-414 engine, notably with regard to technology transfer under US ITAR. The French plan, in contrast, provides a whole new engine with cutting-edge features and materials as well as an Indian production base.

In addition, Safran, a business with a presence in India and an MRO facility for LEAP engines and the M-88 engine, intends to create a gas turbine technology centre there. High-end metallurgical software tools and complete design capabilities will be available at this centre. During the Paris Air Show 2023, Dr. Samir V. Kamat, the director of India’s DRDO, recently paid a visit to the Safran engine plant and R&D facility in Paris. This unexpected arrival aroused curiosity. British Rolls Royce [RR] and American General Electric are two significant rivals for the AMCA project.

Strong interest in AMCA has been shown by Rolls-Royce, which has proposed constructing an engine for it—a Eurojet EJ200 with a thrust of 110–120KN. They suggest jointly producing engines in India for export after having previously taken part in the British-Japanese sixth-generation fighter programme.

According to a Times Now article, France has promised free access to critical information during the engine’s co-production. This demonstrates France’s commitment to cooperation. Contrary to the United States, which has a patchy record when it comes to providing India and its allies with military equipment, France has a solid reputation as a trustworthy defence provider.

France, unlike its rivals, will not restrict access to critical tech in the co-production of this engine. The US has in the past impeded or delayed supply of parts and training. This demonstrates France’s focus on cooperation. In contrast to the 1998 arms embargo on India, the Light Combat Aircraft [LCA] TEJAS has a solid defence supply history and is strategically located in India. France, on the other hand, has proven to be a reliable defence partner.

In 1998, India and France established a solid strategic alliance that is based on the three pillars of nuclear, space, and defence cooperation. In these areas, France has always backed India, even during times of international strife. France remained India’s supporter, providing fuel for its Tarapur Nuclear Power Plant after India’s nuclear tests in 1974 resulted in the termination of nuclear relations with the United States and Canada.

France, under the leadership of the then-president Jacques Chirac, actively opposed the sanctions even while India was subject to them after nuclear tests in 1998. France was the first nation to sign a civil nuclear agreement with India after India acquired a dispensation from the Nuclear Suppliers Group [NSG] in 2008 to conduct civil nuclear trade. The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) non-signatory countries are no longer receiving technology for enrichment and reprocessing from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Despite this, France keeps up its nuclear collaboration with India and is unaffected by the NSG’s decision.

French companies have had greater success in India’s nuclear industry, showing the changing nature of international ties, despite the US supporting India’s NSG waiver. Despite the plan’s delayed pace because of India’s local politics, France has proposed building six 1,600 MW EPR nuclear reactors there as a show of its strong relationship. With France initially assisting India in the production of Centaure-sounding rockets, India and France have had a long-standing relationship in space technology. The Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment (APPLE), which was launched by the Ariane, was inspired by the first Indian Satellite Telecommunication Experimental Project (STEP), which made use of the French satellite Symphonie.

Previously, India’s major satellites were launched by the French company Arianespace. However, a relationship with French companies like EADS Astrium evolved as India improved its launch capabilities. They advertise the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle [PSLV] to the West alongside India’s commercial arm, Antrix. France and India both have a lengthy history in the defence industry, extending to the 1950s and 1960s. France even gave 104 Ouragan aircraft—renamed “Toofani” in India—to the Indian Air Force. To further solidify their ties, a High Committee on Defence Cooperation was established in 1998.

The organisation encourages military and political discussions between the two nations. Through interactions and teamwork activities, it promotes cooperation and partnerships throughout the arms sector. France and India participated in the first combined naval exercise after India’s nuclear test in 1998 as a sign of their close bilateral ties. Despite their differing geopolitical circumstances, New Delhi and Paris have a special relationship known as the middle powers congruence that prioritises “strategic autonomy.”

India shares the view that France and the United States do not owe each other blind fealty. India might be being used by France to modernise its antiquated technologies. Although not the newest, the Rafale jets that France sold to India are crucial to the French Air Force. France might be establishing a new industrial base and preserving the viability of its innovations by sharing its know-how and goods. These technologies will keep playing a big role in the world. India’s participation could hasten its technical advancement. China, for example, has progressed from utilising Russian-made engines to its own, despite being a generation behind the West, and is now self-sufficient in making its fighter jets.


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