Paris, France – Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto held a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace on Wednesday, more than a month after Indonesia sealed a deal to order 42 Rafale fighter jets and signed an exploratory agreement for the possible purchase of two submarines.
The Defense Ministry, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said Prabowo would discuss a number of defense issues with Macron, including the follow-up steps in the acquisition of the defense equipment.
"In the meeting, also being discussed are some follow-ups on the plan to buy Rafale jet fighters and Scorpene submarines, which was agreed upon by two sides on Feb. 10," the statement read.
The ministry also said Prabowo and Macron had agreed to improve defense cooperation between the two countries.
In early February, Prabowo announced the Rafale agreement during a meeting with his French counterpart Florence Parly in Jakarta.
Prabowo said a deal had been struck for the purchase of the jets, with a contract signed in early February relating to the first six.
France's defense ministry said the contract for the 42 aircraft and their weapons was worth US$8.1 billion.
Spokesman Herve Grandjean said the two countries had also signed a letter of intent for research and development with a view to Indonesia ordering two Scorpene submarines.
The Rafale deal is the latest sign of warming ties between Jakarta and Paris, as France rethinks its alliances in the region following the collapse in September of a multibillion dollar Australian submarine deal.
Paris was left furious by the debacle, saying it had been given no warning that Canberra was negotiating a new defense pact with the United States and Britain.
Australia is now obtaining nuclear-powered submarines as part of a new defense alliance called AUKUS, which brings together Canberra, Washington and London to counter a rising China.