French Defence Minister Florence Parly on Thursday reiterated her country’s support to the candidature of India for a permanent seat in United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Speaking at the induction ceremony of the first batch of five Rafale fighter aircraft at Ambala airbase, Parly said it is a stellar achievement for India and France and a new chapter is being written in the bilateral defence ties.

She said that France supports India’s candidacy for (permanent seat) in the UNSC. The French Defence Minister highlighted India’s election as a non-permanent member in the UNSC for a two-year term beginning in January 2021, saying it “represents an opportunity to promote international peace and security together.”

France is among the five permanent members in the UNSC apart from China, the UK, the US and Russia. Parly described the Rafale as a “powerful military aircraft” and said they have successfully performed in French operations.

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She said that Rafale had taken a leading role in Mali, helping destroy armed terror groups and support friendly troops in contact. She added that as a part of international military intervention against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, they operated in difficult conditions far from their bases, taking advantage of their huge operational range of striking distant targets with surgical precision.

The French Minister remarked they were proud to share their know-how with everyone, their friendship was rock solid and time-tested. She added that she was that their strategic partnership was based on mutual understanding, common interests and deep trust.

She underlined that France is fully committed to the ‘Make in India’ initiative and further integration of Indian manufacturers into the global supply chains.

She said that the Make in India had been a reality for the French industry for several years particularly for defence equipment such as submarines. She said that many French companies and design offices were now established in India and she hopes that others would offer their support and services.

The French Defence Minister said it is a great pride to see the first five Rafale jets inducted in time in the Indian Air Force despite the COVID-19 crisis.

He stated that they were particularly attentive to the respect of the delivery deadline, they would ensure that as France was determined to support the Indian Air Force to touch the sky with glory with the remaining 31 Rafale jets as soon as possible.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was present on the occasion, presented a memento to the French Defence Minister. Water cannon salute was given to the five Rafale aircraft at the Ambala airbase during the induction ceremony. Both Singh and Parly also witnessed the traditional ‘Sarva Dharma Puja’ at the venue.

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