French Army chief General Elrick Irastorza Monday arrived here on a two-day visit, seeking to ramp up defense cooperation and relations between India and France and initiate joint training programs.
Irastorza will meet Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony and the three services chiefs, apart from visiting an ‘Elite Indian Army Brigade’ during his stay here. The Indian Army said in a statement that Irastorza has had a prior association with Indian troops, while on deployment with the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), especially with the Indian Field Hospital at Battambang.
“The French Army chief will finalize the schedule of joint exercises between the two armies and is also expected to hold discussion on issues of mutual interest with the Indian defence top brass,” Indian Army officers said.
The Indian Army says, “Commencing 2011, the Indian and the French Armies will commence Joint Exercises in India.”
India and France already have a robust joint exercise between their navies and the air forces. These will be followed up with the army-to-army exercises, they said.
Indo-Asian News Service contributed to this report.