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Indian, French navies to carry out joint patrolling in Indian Ocean Region

Vice admiral Didier Maleterre, who is Joint Commander of the French forces deployed in the Indian Ocean region, also said that the two navies will ink an agreement early next year which will provide for sharing of classified information. On the proposed joint patrol, he said Indian Navy is expected to deploy its P8I maritime surveillance aircraft for it.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 10, 2019, 08.34 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: India and France are set to sign a pact to enable secure communications at operational level as the two sides are looking to conduct joint operations in the Indian Ocean Region, a top French Navy officer said.

Vice Admiral Didier Malterre, who commands the French joint forces deployed in the Indian Ocean, has also red flagged growing Chinese presence in the region, questioning the need for using nuclear powered submarines on so called anti-piracy missions and described the Hambantota in Sri Lanka as ‘dual use” port.

“We want to conduct joint operations, not just joint exercises. From maritime surveillance to perhaps more sensitive (missions). For that we need a pact for classified communications. We have the will and the objective to be more interoperable with India,” the senior officer said in a select interaction. The French defence minister is likely to visit New Delhi next month.

The two navies are planning to start joint patrols from next year with Indian P8I maritime surveillance aircraft and French frigates operating from the Reunion Islands to monitor Indian Ocean traffic, including in the strategic Mozambique Channel.

The pact for classified information sharing is expected to be inked early next year. “The aim is to have a classified link to share information between my headquarters in Abu Dhabi and the Indian Navy headquarters. It is very rare for France to have such links with non-NATO nations,” the officer said.

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