For the 1st time India & France conducted joint patrol from the Reunion Island in February 2020 by P-8I aircraft with French Navy personnel to maintain the security of international maritime routes for trade and communications.Key Points:
i.Currently under the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and broader maritime cooperation, the Indian Navy conducts joint Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ) surveillance with Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius as well as Coordinated Patrols (CORPAT) with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.
ii.Until now India has carried out CORPAT with maritime neighbours & rejected a similar offer by the United States (US).
During the visit of French Navy Chief Admiral Christophe Prazuck, India and France discussed CORPAT like engagements in November 2019. In October 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron noted that a patrol aircraft from the Indian Navy would be stationed at Le Reunion to participate in monitoring tasks during the first quarter of 2020.
- France was the 1st country to appoint a liaison officer at the Indian Navy’s Communication Center (IFC-IOR) as part of efforts to improve Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA)
- France has steadily emerged as a major strategic partner for India with big-ticket defence deals & also increased military to military engagement.
- Currently Indian Navy is inducting French Scorpene conventional submarines which are being built under technology transfer, and the Indian Air Force will soon receive the 1st set of its 36 Rafale fighter jets.
- Apart from them, India and France have many collaborations across a number of important sectors such as space, nuclear and defence.
Gist about P-8I aircraft
i.Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
ii.The P-8s Indian variant is referred to as P-8I.
iii.It is not only responsible for coastal patrol but also used for other important tasks such as search and rescue, anti-piracy, and other military support.
Prime Minister (PM)– Édouard Philippe