India, France conclude confidentiality agreement

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New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) Even as the opposition is demanding that the government reveal at what cost the Rafale fighter jets were procured from French firm Dassault Aviation, India and France on Saturday signed an agreement regarding the exchange and reciprocal protection of classified or protected information.

The agreement, signed after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting French President Emmanuel Macron here, defines the common security regulations applicable to any exchange of classified and protected information.

A similar agreement was signed by the previous UPA government in 2008 and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month cited that agreement when asked to the disclose the cost of various components agreements.

That 10-year agreement was set to lapse this year and speculations were rife about whether the government would renew or update the agreement during Macron’s visit.

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A joint statement issued following that talks said that both leaders welcomed the signing of the agreement regarding the exchange and reciprocal protection of classified or protected information, “reflecting the high level of strategic trust between the two countries”.

“Both sides also agreed to create an annual defence dialogue at the ministerial level,” the statement said.

–IANS

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