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Saturday, December 5, 2009

France offers to sell artillery, tanks to India

NEW DELHI: France offered Friday to sell artillery and tanks to the Indian army as the two sides expand existing defense ties now that India has emerged as a major arms buyer.

Defense relations between India and France have deepened over the last few years, and the two countries share similar views on global terrorism and regional security, French Defense Minister Herve Morin told reporters.

Morin said he discussed with his Indian counterpart A.K. Antony the possibility of New Delhi buying artillery and tanks from his country. He did not provide details.

They also discussed upgrading nearly 50 French Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft currently being used by the Indian air force and six Scorpene submarines that are being built in a dockyard near Mumbai, he said.

Morin also said India and France agreed to exchange intelligence to counter the threat posed by terrorism to both countries.

A French Embassy statement said Morin's talks in New Delhi were also in preparation for the proposed visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to India early next year.Morin was to leave for Paris later Friday.

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