India and France will soon launch joint naval patrolling in the southern Indian Ocean region to protect their strategic interests, including to check large scale illegal fishing, a top commander of the French Navy said on Monday.
“We are now preparing to carry out joint patrol in southern Indian Ocean. India is planning to deploy P8I aircraft,” Vice Admiral Didier Maleterre, who is the Joint Commander of the French forces deployed in the Indian Ocean region, said.
The commander, who is also chief of the French Joint Forces stationed in the UAE, said the Indian and French Navies are also considering carrying out joint patrols in the northwestern part of the Indian Ocean, including the Gulf of Aden. “There is a very clear strategic and political objective of France in the region,” he said.
Maleterre also said that the two navies will ink an agreement early next year providing for sharing of classified information for better operational cooperation in the region.