France has offered to completely shift the assembly line for Panther medium-utility helicopters as well as 70 percent of that for Rafale fighters to India. The offer is in sync with PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative to boost the country’s manufacturing capability through the transfer of technology, Hindustan Times reported.
The Airbus’ AS565 Panther is the military version of the Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin medium-weight, multipurpose twin-engine helicopter. The all-weather, multi-role medium helicopter has been designed for operation from ship decks, offshore locations, and land-based sites.
The helicopters can fulfill a wide range of military roles, including combat assault, fire support, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).
Paris’ offer to make the choppers in India works extremely well with the Indian government, which has been looking to procure medium helicopters for the Indian Navy.
The offers were made during the string of conversations between Indian leaders and Emmanuel Bonne, Diplomatic Advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron who was in the country for the 34th India-France strategic dialogue this week. The strategic dialogue was chaired by Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Bonne.
Moreover, in light of the deal to bring 70 percent of the Rafale fighters’ assembly line including local vendor development, officials have said there was a real possibility that New Delhi, which has a contract of 36 fighters, could end up purchasing more in the future, according to the HT report.
The 4+ generation Dassault Rafale is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft equipped with a wide range of weapons. The fighters can perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike, and nuclear deterrence missions.
The Omni-role fighters would help India secure its borders which have witnessed skirmishes in the past year.
Senior officials told the daily said New Delhi has taken a decision to consider Paris’ offer of Airbus 330 multi-role transport tankers on lease.
The country has also made it clear that the French defense technologies shared with the Indian military should not be given to its adversaries, including its neighbor Pakistan.
France has reportedly reassured that it will abide by the request, and also informed India regarding its depleting military ties with Pakistan, which reached a new low after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan criticized President Macron over his views on Islam.
Therefore, it is clear that Paris will no longer be supplying or upgrading French weapon platforms or ammunition with Pakistan. This will include repairs to the Augusta submarines as well as Mirage III/V fighters.