New Delhi: After the bilateral talks between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Italian counterpart Guido Crosetto in Rome, India and Italy on October 10 signed a defence cooperation agreement to promote cooperation in varied defence domains such as “security and defence policy, R&D, education in military field, maritime domain awareness, sharing of defence information and industrial cooperation, including co-development, co-production and setting up of joint ventures”. Defence Minister Singh is on a visit to Italy and France from October 9 to 12.
In a statement on the bilateral talks, the Ministry said, “During the meeting, both sides discussed a host of defence cooperation issues, including training, sharing of information, maritime exercises and maritime security. The focus was on the opportunities in defence industrial cooperation. The two Ministers discussed the complementary capacities of India and Italy in defence and the possibilities of joint development.”
According to the statement, Defence Minister Singh suggested fostering the interaction of the Indian start-ups with the Italian defence companies. Earlier, Rajnath Singh was presented with a Guard of Honour at Villa Madama. Upon his arrival at Ciampino Airport, he was received by the Indian Ambassador to Italy Neena Malhotra and senior Italian officials.
During the visit of the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to India, the relationship between India and Italy was elevated to Strategic Partnership in March 2023 .
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Paris for the 5th annual defence dialogue with his French counterpart Sebastian Lecornu during the second and final leg of his visit. India and France recently celebrated 25 years of Strategic Partnership. “Both countries enjoy a deep and wide-ranging bilateral defence relationship, including significant industrial cooperation,” the Defence Ministry noted.
In both Rome and Paris, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to interact with the defence industry CEOs and senior representatives to discuss potential opportunities for industrial cooperation.