External affairs minister discusses key regional, global issues with French counterpart
- Key regional and global issues particularly the India-E.U. relationship, situation in Afghanistan, Iranian nuclear deal and the Ukraine crisis were discussed between Indian External minister and his French counterpart
- Both have reiterated their shared commitment to the principles of multilateralism and a rules-based order, and agreed to coordinate in the Security Council on issues of mutual concern.
Outcomes of Discussion
- India will participate in the E.U. Ministerial Forum on Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific which is an initiative by France
- In the context of the Ministerial Forum, the two Ministers agreed to jointly launch the Indo-French call for an “Indo-Pacific Parks Partnership” during the E.U. Forum.
- Both countries have agreed to intensify India-E.U. ties under the French Presidency, and the need to begin negotiations on the Free Trade and Investment Agreements and implement the India-E.U. Connectivity Partnership.
- Both sides also adopted the ""India-France Roadmap on the Blue Economy and Ocean Governance”
- They have also agreed to continue and enhance their cooperation in and agreed to soon conclude a Joint Declaration of Intent in the Area of Sports
- It is aimed at further facilitating people-to-people contact
India-France Roadmap on the Blue Economy and Ocean Governance
- It is aimed at enhancing partnership in the field of blue economy by way of institutional, economic, infrastructural and scientific cooperation
Indo-Pacific Parks Partnership
- It is aimed at building capacities in the Indo-Pacific region, in terms of sustainable management of protected areas
- It will be done by gathering and sharing the experiences and expertise that exist in the region among key Indo-Pacific public & private natural park managers
Economic cooperation between India and France
- Sectors of commercial cooperation between both countries are IT corridors,smart-cities, railways, capital and trade exchanges ,skill development etc.
- France is the 7th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative FDI stock of USD 9 billion from April 2000 to December 2020, - 2 % of total FDI inflows.
- More than 150 Indian companies are operating in France (including sub-subsidiaries), employing more than 7,000 persons
- Civil nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in 2008 between both countries
- Industrial Way Forward Agreement was signed in 2018 for the construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur.
- Nuclear Reactor construction: French multinational energy company EDF has submitted its offer to provide assistance in the construction of 6 nuclear reactors in the Indian province of Maharashtra.
- Exercise Shakti is the defence exercise b/w armies of both nations ;
- Exercise Varuna is the defence exercises b/w Navies of both nations
- Exercise Garuda defence exercises b/w Air Forces of both nations;
- La Pérouse exercise: Indian Navy participated in French led exercise with Quad members in 2021.
- Mutual logistic support Agreement: to receive logistical support, supplies and services from each other during authorised port visits, joint exercises, etc.
- Purchase of Rafale aircraft: Intergovernmental agreement for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts (30 fighter aircrafts and 6 trainers) by India in flyaway condition was signed in New Delhi on 23 September 2016.
- P-751 submarine project: it envisages construction of 24 submarines indigenously along with public and private industries of appropriate designs in two phases.
- Make in India: cooperation in the defence industry field and extension of support to existing and upcoming partnerships b/w the defence companies of the two countries inline with “Make in India”
Space and Technology cooperation
- France helped India to set up the Sriharikota launch site, liquid engine development and hosting of payloads.
- Joint research by ISRO and CNES : areas under research are Earth observation, Maritime domain awareness, Global navigation satellite system, exploration of solar system, space transportation system and human spaceflight.
- Collaboration Projects: TRISHNA (for ecosystem stress and water use monitoring) and accommodation of French instruments on India’s OCEANSAT-3 satellite.
- GSAT-11 was launched from Kourou (French Guiana) in December 2018; GSAT-30 was launched on 16 January 2020
- Joint Vision for Space Cooperation: it was issued in 2018
- Its aim is to bring societal benefits of space technology
- Vivekananda Cultural Centre: Indian Cultural Centre opened in Paris.
- Namaste France: held in 2016 across France displaying various facets of Indian art and culture.
- Scholarships in Sanskrit: GoI has also offered five scholarships for study of Sanskrit in India to French nationals.
- Lack of FTA: negotiation talks are still under negotiation which hinders the relations between both countries
- Economic slowdown in France is also impeding the economic relations
- BRI: France’s commitment to Belt & Road Initiative is in stark contrast to India’s stand as well; hence there is strategic differences b/w the two nations
- Weak Business relations: Bilateral trade is less than half of India’s trade with Germany.
- The target of €12 billion set in 2008 remains elusive.
- ISRO is the cheapest space agency for satellite launches globally and french academia and industry can avail these services
- Allied Navigation System: France can push EU to confer “allied navigation system” to NAVIC and extend interoperability with EU’s Galileo system
- Trade: Both countries should conclude an FTA to enhance the economic relations
- France can be India’s gateway to Europe and India France’s first strategic partner in Asia by leveraging the potential of convergences