India and France Strengthen Ties  |

India and France Strengthen Ties 


∙ French President Emmanuel Macron was the Chief guest at the 75th Republic Day Celebration.

Major Highlights of India and France Relations

∙ Strategic Partnership: After India’s 1998 nuclear tests, France was the first country to initiate a Strategic Dialogue with India.

ο By displaying a greater understanding of India’s security compulsions as compared to other countries, France refused to impose bilateral sanctions on India.

ο France was the first western country India signed a strategic partnership with.

ο The year 2023 marked 25 years of India-France Strategic Partnership.

∙ The comprehensive Roadmap between India and France, which was adopted last year at Bastille Day, was classified under three pillars — Partnership for  Security and Sovereignty; Partnership for the Planet; and Partnership for People.

∙ Economic: Trade relations have witnessed steady growth, with bilateral trade reaching $13.4 Bn in 2022-23.

∙ France is one of the largest investors in India with FDI inflow of US$ 659.77 million for FY 2022-23.

∙ For FY 2023-24, Indian exports to France totaled $3.06 billion and imports from France totaled $2.36 billion.

∙ Defence: Bilateral defence cooperation between the two sides is reviewed under Annual Defence Dialogue (Defence Minister level) and High Committee on Defence Cooperation (Secretary level).

∙ P-75 Scorpene Deal 2005: An agreement for building six Scorpène submarines under technology transfer at Mazagaon Docks Ltd. in India with French help.

∙ The procurement of Rafale jets as part of India’s air power is a testament to the deep defence ties.

∙ Joint defense exercises between the Air forces (Garuda series) and the Armies (Shakti), Navies (Varuna) are conducted regularly.

∙ Space: There’s a rich history of cooperation in the field of space for over 50 years between ISRO and the French Space Agency, Centre National D’Etudes Spatiales (CNES).

∙ France remains a major supplier of components and equipment for the Indian space programme.

∙ Energy Cooperation: In 2023, both leaders welcomed the progress made during discussions related to the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP). However, the progress here has been slow, though the first pact was agreed in 2008.

∙ The two sides have also agreed to establish a partnership on Small Modular Reactors (SMR) and Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR).

∙ The International Solar Alliance was launched jointly by India and France.

ο Education: It is estimated that there are about 10,000 Indian students in France. An agreement on mutual recognition of degrees was signed in 2018.

∙ In 2023, it was agreed to increase the number of Indian students in France to 30,000 by 2030.

ο Community in France: Mainland France has an estimated 1,19,000 Indian community (including NRIs) members, largely originating from erstwhile French colonies of Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe and Chandernagore and the States of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Punjab.

ο Tourism: About 2.5 lakh French travelled to India in 2019 while about 7 lakh Indians went to France for tourism.

∙ Rajasthan continues to lead among all Indian destinations for French tourists.

∙ Support on international fora: France has continued to support India’s claim for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and the reforms of the United Nations.

∙ France’s support was vital in India’s accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and Australia Group (AG). France continues to support India’s bid for accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

∙ India and France have resolved to work together for adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN.

Future Outlook

∙ As we look ahead, the India-France relationship is poised for even greater heights as the Prime Minister’s state visit to France in 2023 marked a turning point in the bilateral relationship.

∙ Closer ties with India can assist France in pursuing its interests in the Global South.

∙ Both countries recognize the strategic importance of continuing to enhance this partnership for maintaining regional stability and paving the way for advancements across several sectors of importance.

∙ The current visit will give both countries an opportunity to discuss the Russia-Ukraine war, Israel-Hamas war, China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, and defence and security cooperation.

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