India, France to set up working group to study Ukraine war

India and France are very close to sealing agreement on jointly designing, developing and manufacturing high-tech platforms required to fight future wars.

Strategic allies India and France have decided to set up a joint working group on the operational, military-logistics and political lessons learnt from the ongoing war in Ukraine. The working group will have members drawn from the national security and foreign ministry of both countries.

French defence minister Sebastien Lecornu met defence minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister S Jaishankar and national security advisor Ajit Doval on November 28 to deepen the seabed-to-space cooperation between two countries with a focus on joint design, development and manufacturing of hardware platforms in India under the rubric of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” project.

India and France have also decided to synergize and cooperate in the field of cyber-security and space in terms of technology sharing and the exchange of futuristic implementable ideas. The India-France alliance guided by PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron is now talking in terms of joint research and development of aircraft engines, fighter planes, long-range submarines and hardware that are key to winning future wars. At the meeting with NSA Doval, it was decided that both sides would jointly identify the hardware projects on a priority basis and then co-develop them under the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” initiative. Specific timelines will be set for each design, development and manufacturing of the military products to cut through the bureaucratic red tape within Indian military-civilian babudom. The products include platforms for sub-surface awareness to maritime time awareness on the surface and in the skies.

With Indian and French leader broadly on the same page on how to end the Ukraine war, expert groups from the two countries will try and draw out the lessons from the ongoing war which is currently gone into winter slumber and will erupt after the snow gets hardened in Ukraine. This will give both sides to regroup and procure much-needed supplies for fighting to resume on the ground. The Ukraine war is turning out to be a quagmire for Russian troops due to low morale, poor logistics supply lines, paucity of spares and inability to dominate the air space over Ukraine. The Ukraine war effort, funded and supplied by the US, is in a much better shape with American Stinger and Javelin missiles wreaking havoc on the Russian air force and armor on the ground. The use of long-range artillery and rockets is also making life miserable for the Russian frontline in the Luhansk-Donbas region.

The fact is that the Ukraine war has shown the effectiveness of stand-off weapons and the non-guarantee that a nuclear power with demonstrative weapons is enough to win a war on ground. The India-France dialogue will deepen further when Emmanuel Bonne, diplomatic advisor to French President Macron, arrives in India for the strategic dialogue with NSA Ajit Doval in January 2023.