On a quick visit to India to join the formal ceremony to induct the Rafale fighter jets into the Indian Air Force, French defence minister Florence Parly on Thursday spoke in glowing terms about the Indian and French strategic partnership. “You can count on us,” she said at the ceremony, recalling how New Delhi “was by our side” when France was going through a critical phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We will also be by your side,” she said, underscoring French support for India’s candidacy for the UN Security Council.
It is a sentiment that she had underscored well before she landed in India as well, describing India as France’s foremost ally in Asia. Speaking at a glittering ceremony at the Ambala air force station, Florence Parly underlined the “rock-solid” friendship between the two countries exemplified by the deal to buy the fighter jets.