Rafale fighter jets are the common element in trilateral strategic partnership. India and UAE have both purchased Rafale fighters from France. ET has learnt that the three countries are keen to form a trilateral Rafale forum and India will play a key role in the forum.
While India is a key strategic partner for France in South Asia, UAE is similarly a key partner for France in West Asia. India and UAE partnership have been transformed in the last few years and strategic heft have taken ties to a new level.
“A productive first trilateral ministerial meeting of India-UAE-France. Active exchange of ideas between strategic partners and UNSC members. Thank @ABZayed for hosting @MinColonna and me,” foreign minister S Jaishankar tweeted following the meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA.
The India-UAE-France trilateral is a new and more contemporary way of doing diplomacy with a focus on “active exchange” of ideas between strategic partners and UNSC members. The three countries, while different, are strategic partners to one another and discussions focused on areas of commonalities and on working out how to specify and concretise commonalities going forward, according to people familiar with the partnership. The three countries are very comfortable with each other and there are many areas where potentially they could be working in a more coordinated way.
In July, India-UAE-France held their maiden trilateral at official level to explore potential cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region including maritime security, blue economy and regional connectivity and food and energy security. The three sides in July exchanged perspectives on the Indo-Pacific region and explored the potential areas of trilateral cooperation including maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, blue economy, regional connectivity, cooperation in multilateral fora, energy and food security, innovation and startups, supply chain resilience and cultural and people-to-people cooperation. They had also discussed the next steps to be taken for furthering trilateral cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
Monday’s trilateral comes close on the heels of the French foreign minister’s India visit. Jaishankar was set to meet his Turkish counterpart late on Tuesday to take forward the dialogue between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and president Recep Tayyip Erdo an in Samarkand last Friday.