India-France Relationship

India-France Relationship

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “India-France Relationship”. The topic “India-France Relationship” has relevance in the “International Relations” section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:

India- France Initiatives

For Mains:

GS2: Agreements Involving India and its interests, Bilateral Relations of India, Indian Diaspora 

Why in the news?

Prime Minister Modi will be attending the Bastille Day Parade as Guest of Honour on invitation by Emmanuel Macron, President of France. This visit also marks the 25th anniversary of India-France Strategic Partnership.

Historical Background: 

  • The relationship between India and France dates back to the 17th century, when the French East India Company established a trading post in Surat, Gujarat. The French were interested in trading for spices and other goods from India, and they also sought to establish political and military influence in the region.
  • The establishment of diplomatic relations in 1947 laid the foundation for the modern-day partnership.
  • After the Nuclear Tests in 1998, India and France signed a strategic partnership agreement. This agreement formalised the close relationship between the two countries and committed them to cooperation in a number of areas, including defence, trade, and technology

Economic Collaboration:

  • India and France are important trading partners, and the two countries have a bilateral trade agreement that was signed in 1998. In 2021, the trade between India and France was worth €12.7 billion.
  • India and France are also cooperating in the field of technology, and the two countries have signed a number of agreements to promote cooperation in areas such as space, nuclear energy, and information technology. 
  • In 2003, India and France signed a bilateral agreement on space cooperation. The agreement covers a wide range of areas, including satellite launch, satellite communication, and remote sensing. 
  • India and France are also working together on the development of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a project to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power.
  • French companies have made significant investments in India, contributing to job creation and technology transfer. Some of the most notable French companies with a presence in India include Airbus, Renault, Capgemini, and Danone.
  • NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL) and Lyra signed an MoU to enable UPI and RuPay payments in Europe. This would allow Europeans to use these Indian payment methods online and in stores.


Defence and Security Cooperation:

  • India and France have a strong defence relationship, and the two countries have collaborated on a number of major defence projects, such as the Rafale fighter aircraft and the Scorpène-class submarines. 
  • In 2016, India signed a deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France for €7.8 billion. The first batch of Rafale jets was delivered to India in September 2020. 
  • India and France are also working together on the development of the next generation of fighter jets, the Future Medium Combat Aircraft (FMCA).


Cultural Exchanges and People-to-People Contacts:

  • In 2006, India and France signed a bilateral agreement on cultural cooperation. The agreement covers a wide range of areas, including the exchange of artists, scholars, and students. 
  • There is a large Indian diaspora in France, estimated to be around 500,000 people. The Indian diaspora in France is made up of people from all over India, and they have made significant contributions to French society. 
  • Thousands of Indians visit France every year, and there are also a large number of French people who live in India. These contacts help to promote understanding and friendship between the two countries. 


Climate Partnerships: 

  • The two countries have worked together on a number of initiatives to mitigate climate change, including the International Solar Alliance and the Paris Agreement.
  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an international organisation that was founded by India and France in 2015. The ISA’s mission is to promote the use of solar energy in developing countries. The ISA has 121 member countries, and it is headquartered in Gurugram, India.
  • In October 2022, France and India signed a roadmap on green hydrogen to establish a reliable and sustainable value chain for decarbonised hydrogen. In February 2022, they signed a roadmap on the blue economy and ocean governance.
  • In 2021, India and France launched the Climate Action and Finance Partnership, a joint initiative to promote climate action and finance in developing countries.


Challenges in the bilateral ties:

  • Regional Security Concerns: Both India and France share concerns about regional security threats, especially in the Indian Ocean region. They cooperate on maritime security and counterterrorism, but need to enhance their cooperation to address emerging challenges.
  • Defense Procurement: India experiences delays and cost overruns in several defense deals with France due to issues such as cost escalation, delivery delays, and disagreements over technology transfer.
  • Technology Transfer: India faces challenges in obtaining advanced military technology and equipment from France due to intellectual property rights and proliferation risks.
  • Strategic Autonomy: France worries about India’s growing defense ties with other countries, especially the United States. France would want India to maintain a balanced approach and not become overly dependent on any one country.

India and France have a strong foundation on which to build, and they are committed to working together to address the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. The two countries could collaborate in a number of areas, including trade, defense, technology, climate change, space, education, culture, and tourism. By working together, India and France can help to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the world.




Q1. Consider the following statements: 

  1. France was among the last European maritime powers to enter the East India trade in the 17th century.
  2. France is a member of the G-7, OECD, G-20 and Quad.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 

(d) None 

Answer: (a) 


Q2. Consider the following: 

  1. International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)
  2. Climate Action and Finance Partnership
  3. Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) 
  4. International Solar Alliance (ISA)

How many of the abovementioned initiatives/ organisations have India and France Partnership?

(a) Only one 

(b) Only two 

(c) Only three 

(d) All Four 

Answer: (c)

Q3. Discuss the evolution of India-France strategic partnership over the last 25 years and its relevance in the current geopolitical context.

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