VISIT OF GEN ELRIC IRASTORZA, COAS, FRANCE TO INDIA
31 JANUARY – 02 FEBRARY
New Delhi: Magha 10, 1932
31 Jan 2011
Gen Elrick Irastorza, COAS, France is on a two day visit to India on the invitation of the COAS, India. The Indian COAS, had last visited France in March 2009. Two decades back, the General has had a memorable association with Indian Troops, while on deployment with UNITED NATIONS TRANSITIONAL AUTHORITY in Cambodia (UNTAC), especially with the Indian Field Hospital at BATTAMBANG.
France and India share common values and have convergence of views on many issues that affect the emerging world order. Our bilateral cum defence cooperation is on an increase in multifaceted fields. Our people to people / military to military contacts from the apex to the functional levels have resulted in building of trust and confidence, which has been immensely beneficial. The highly successful recent visits to India of President Sarkozy in December and the French Chief of Defence Staff earlier in October 2010 are indicative of our strengthening Strategic Partnership.
The General is occupying a pivotal position at the moment, spearheading a major transformation of the French Army, in which he is extensively involved. There is a scope for enhanced interactions between our Defence Forces, as we implement our respective modernisation and transformation Plans to adapt to contemporary challenges.
While Def Cooperation is on an upswing, there is a tremendous scope for enhancing Army to Army cooperation, being one of the most professional armies of the world with a vast and varied experience in the wider spectrum of conflict.
The VARUNA and GARUDA series of exercises between our Navies and Air Forces have been very useful. Commencing 2011, the Indian and the French Armies will commence Joint Exercises in India. This will be a landmark achievement and will lay the foundation for graduated road maps for substantive enhancement in our joint Exercise Objectives.
The two day schedule of the visiting dignitary includes, a visit to Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay homage, interaction with the three Service Chiefs, a “call on” the Raksha Mantri and the Defence Secretary, besides a visit to an Elite Indian Army Brigade. In his interactions with the top defence hierarchy of the Indian Defence Forces, issues of mutual, regional and transnational interest are likely to be deliberated upon, besides a candid exchange of ideas. The COAS hosted a banquet for the visiting Dignitary at the Army Battle Honours Mess. This is the first visit by any COAS from a friendly Foreign Country to India in 2011. The visit is anticipated to further cement our military to military contacts and our defence diplomacy cum defence cooperation forays. Of late, there has been an exponential increase in Indian Army’s Defence Cooperation activities with key countries, to include France, as per our intensities of engagement.