India – France strategic partnership

India – France strategic partnership

Source – The Hindu and PIB.

General Studies – International Relations, India-France International Relations, Horizon 2047, COP 33, G20 Summit.

Why in the News ?

  • At the invitation of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, paid a state visit to India as the Chief Guest for the 75th Republic Day of India. This is President Macron’s second state visit to India and the sixth visit by a French leader as the guest of honor on Republic Day.
  • India and France are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their mutual strategic partnership this year. France is India’s first strategic partner country in the western world. Not only this, India is also the first non-European partner for France. In such a situation, it is important to invite Macron as the chief guest in the Republic Day Parade. This is also a mutual gesture of friendship with PM Modi. It is also a big thing that in the year 2023, PM Modi and President Macron met at least a dozen times. Many of these meetings took place during bilateral and many big multinational programs. Last year, Macron also came to India to participate in the G-20 summit organized under the chairmanship of India.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron has reached India as the chief guest on Republic Day. He was welcomed in Maharaja style in Jaipur. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed him on reaching Jantar Mantar. After this, Macron participated in a road show in the Pink City with PM Modi. Whenever PM Modi and Macron meet, both the leaders warmly embrace each other. It is symbolic, which shows that India and France are strongly embracing each other, cooperating in every possible field. The ‘friendship’ between India and France is also special. This is also one of the reasons why French citizens and President Macron are among India’s closest friends.
  • President Macron’s visit to India for the Republic Day follows the Prime Minister’s historic visit to France as the guest of honor on the French National Day on 14 July 2023, during which the two leaders unveiled an ambitious plan Horizon 2047. Horizon 2047, marking the centenary of India’s independence, is a ‘milestone’ for the bilateral relations between the two countries. It is unprecedented for the two leaders to be guests of honor on consecutive national days and the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the declaration of the strategic partnership between the two countries is of utmost importance. The presence of the President of the French Republic at the 75th Republic Day of India is a symbol of our shared commitment to democracy, liberty, equality, fraternity and justice, and a strong pillar for the deepening of our mutual friendship and the strength of our mutual strategic partnership. .
  • President Macron was also accompanied by a strong high-level delegation, including the ministers of the armed forces, culture, European and foreign affairs, as well as senior French government officials and CEOs and industry leaders. Three French Air and Space Force aircraft flew alongside Indian Air Force aircraft on the duty path, and a French military contingent participated in the Republic Day parade.
  • Since the announcement of the Strategic Partnership in 1998, India and France have developed a partnership of extraordinary trust and confidence, stability and strength based on shared democratic values, strong belief in sovereignty. and strategic autonomy, a shared commitment to a multipolar world, the rule of law and the principles of the UN Charter. Prime Minister Modi and President Macron reaffirmed their vision that the India-France Strategic Partnership can help build prosperity and resilience in their economies, advance the security of their countries, and build a more sustainable and healthy future for the planet. , can find solutions to global challenges, can revitalize. Multilateralism helps create a stable international order and a more united and cohesive world.
  • Prime Minister Modi of India and President Macron reaffirmed their shared vision for bilateral cooperation and international partnership as outlined in Horizon 2047 and other documents of the July 2023 Summit. They appreciated the progress in bilateral cooperation and sought to further strengthen their shared commitment to sovereignty and strategic autonomy under the three broad pillars of bilateral cooperation – Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, Partnership for the Planet and Partnership for People. Expressed commitment to accelerate further. They held wide-ranging discussions on long-term global challenges and current international developments, and agreed to intensify their global and regional engagement through multilateral initiatives and institutions, inspired by their common interests and visions.
  • President Macron congratulated Prime Minister Modi for his leadership of India’s chairmanship at the successful G20 Leaders’ Delhi Declaration, which resulted in its smooth functioning, its ambitious outcomes and the achievement of new initiatives and consensus on “One Earth, One Family, One Future”. He welcomed the inclusion of the African Union in the G20, saying it enhanced the inclusive and representative character of the forum. They agreed that the consensus achieved in Delhi has strengthened the G20 as a key forum to advance an inclusive global agenda and the commitment to support Brazil for the presidency in 2024.
  • India and France reaffirmed their commitment to jointly address the interconnected challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Prime Minister Modi appreciated President Macron’s international initiatives in 2023, including the New Global Financing Pact summit in June, which led to the Paris Agreement for People and Planet, and the One Planet – Polar Summit in Paris. The two leaders looked forward to the third United Nations Ocean Conference (UNOC3) to be held in Nice in 2025. They commended the UAE’s leadership in the successful organization of COP28 in Dubai and welcomed the COP outcome, particularly the UAE’s consensus on the decisions taken. First on the global stocktake, the Framework on Global Goals on Adaptation, the Work Program on Just Transition and the operationalization of funding arrangements, including a Fund to respond to loss and damage. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to move forward in their next Nationally Determined Contribution with ambitious goals.
  • President Macron appreciated India’s offer to host COP 33 in 2028. He also reaffirmed France’s support for India’s candidature at the International Energy Agency. India’s IEA membership will be mutually beneficial and contribute to the stability and development of the international energy market and energy transition. The two leaders agreed to launch a comprehensive dialogue on global issues, with a special focus on the multilateral framework to hold consultations on political matters and other global issues such as oceans, climate change, biodiversity, pollution and digital. The two leaders reaffirmed their determination to end plastic pollution and called for consensus building for an ambitious outcome this year on negotiations to establish a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution. France and India will also enhance their cooperation in the context of the three COPs of the Rio Convention (Climate, Biodiversity and Desertification) to build joint ambition and promote synergy. In the context of preparations for UNOC 2025, France welcomed India’s decision to join the “Mercator” initiative, which aims to create a global ‘digital twin of the ocean. Finally, President Macron invited the Government of India to participate in the global forum. Buildings and Climate”, co-organized by France and the United Nations Environment Programme, will take place in Paris on 7 and 8 March 2024.
  • Prime Minister Modi and President Macron reiterated their commitment to further deepen the long-term partnership between the two countries, based on their common vision for the Indo-Pacific region. The leaders stressed the importance of the region to their respective sovereign and strategic interests. They also acknowledged the important role of their partnership in the region for progress towards a free, open, inclusive, secure and peaceful Indo-Pacific and beyond. Referring to the Comprehensive Roadmap for the Indo-Pacific, which was finalized in July 2023, they expressed satisfaction at the expanded nature of their engagement in the region.
  • Defense and security partnership has been the cornerstone of the India-France partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, encompassing a wide range of bilateral, multinational, regional and institutional initiatives, particularly in the Indian Ocean region. They also agreed to intensify their cooperation in the south-west Indian Ocean, based on joint surveillance missions conducted off the French island territory of La Reunion in 2020 and 2022. They also welcomed the expansion of those interactions into India’s maritime neighborhood. These interactions can contribute positively to the securitization of strategic sea routes of communication. Furthermore, the two leaders welcomed the progress in bilateral talks and the identification of specific opportunities for friendly countries in the region to use India as a base for manufacturing and exporting defense equipment.
  • The two leaders also committed to reviving trilateral cooperation with Australia, deepening it with the UAE and exploring new collaborations in the region.
  • Noting the importance of joint and multilateral initiatives to support sustainable economic growth, human well-being, environmental sustainability, resilient infrastructure, innovation and connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region, the two leaders called on their governments to identify concrete projects. Said to. Additionally, the two leaders called for the early launch of the Indo-Pacific Trilateral Development Cooperation Fund to facilitate scaling up green technologies being developed in the region. They agreed to explore opportunities to coordinate economic projects and programs in the Pacific region. Both the leaders acknowledged the projects being run by the French Development Agency in India.
  • The leaders of both India and France recalled the launch of the India-Middle East-Europe Corridor (IMEC) on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Delhi in September 2023. President Macron congratulated Prime Minister Modi for his leadership in this historic initiative. The two leaders agreed that the project will be of immense strategic importance and will significantly increase the capacity and flexibility of commerce and energy flows between India, the Middle East and Europe. Prime Minister Modi welcomed the appointment of President Macron’s special envoy for this project. The two leaders recalled their discussions at the July summit in Paris on various other connectivity projects from Southeast Asia to the Middle East and Africa and agreed to explore specific projects.

Historical background of India – France relations :

  • French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to India for the 75th Republic Day celebrations is not only a milestone in diplomatic relations but also underlines the deep and personal friendship that has developed between Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2018. The visit cemented France as one of India’s closest allies, and the story of their cordiality has become central to the India-France strategic partnership. From the very beginning, the two leaders have demonstrated a shared vision for their nations and a commitment to strengthening bilateral relations.
  • Macron’s strategy for running the government matches that of PM Modi to a great extent. This is why he was elected President of France in 2017. He became the youngest president in French history and the youngest head of state since Napoleon III. The personal chemistry between Modi and Macron was evident during his visit to India in 2018, where they jointly launched the International Solar Alliance (ISA). This initiative aimed at promoting solar energy demonstrated their mutual commitment to sustainable development and combating climate change.
  • French aircraft and helicopters (Ouragan, Mystere, Alize, Alouette, Jaguar etc.) have been part of India’s air fleet since the 1960s.
  • France shared Viking and Centaur rocket technologies with India in the 1970s and France assisted in setting up a rocket launcher center in Sriharikota, India.
  • In 1984, the US withdrew from an agreement to provide nuclear fuel for the Tarapur Nuclear Plant, citing domestic legal constraints. At that time France had helped India in supplying nuclear fuel.
  • The India-France strategic partnership is firmly rooted in a multipolar world that rests on reformed and successful multilateralism, a strong belief in strategic autonomy, an unwavering commitment to international law and faith in these principles.
  • In the India-France strategic partnership, both sides are dedicated to upholding the common values of democracy, fundamental freedoms, rule of law and respect for human rights.
  • The main pillars of our strategic partnership with France are cooperation in the areas of defense and security, space exploration and civil nuclear energy.

Strategic – Partnership :

  • India-France maritime security cooperation has made significant progress in recent years, focusing on the Indian Ocean. India is keen to strengthen partnerships with countries across the region with its growing economic, maritime military capabilities and strategic ambitions in the broader Indo-Pacific region. On the other hand, France, while recognizing the geopolitical changes, has begun to emphasize its desire to strengthen its partnership along with its identity as an Indo-Pacific nation. The Indian Ocean has become a priority area of discussion in the recent India-France bilateral talks as both the countries are keen to expand their long-term strategic partnership in the maritime domain. Bilateral talks between French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were held in Paris, France on August 22, 2019. Prime Minister Modi was on a state visit to France for the 45th G7 Summit at the invitation of the President of France. Following the bilateral talks, inter alia, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to implement arrangements between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Center for National Space Studies (CNES) France for joint maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean. This follows an earlier MoU signed in March 2018 between ISRO and CNES aimed at co-developing an ocean surveillance satellite system focused on the Indian Ocean. These agreements are an important step in India-France cooperation for maritime security in the IOR.
  • When both the countries entered into a strategic partnership between France and India in 1998, there were major changes in their mutual strategic partnership relationship.
  • The three main pillars of this strategic alliance are military cooperation, space cooperation and civil nuclear cooperation.
  • Important in the strategic partnership relations between the two nations is the fact that both countries favor a multipolar world governed by democracies rather than being polarized into two blocs at the global political level.
  • France has consistently supported India for permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  • France has also been a strong supporter of India’s membership in all four multilateral export control regimes, namely the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Missile Technology Control Regime (AG).
  • India’s acceptance into WA, MTCR and AG was possible with the assistance of France.
  • The fight against international terrorism is among the priorities of both the countries.

Economic – cooperation :

  • India and France have agreed in 2018 to expand their bilateral trade to 15 billion euros by 2022 and to “timely relaunch talks” on a free trade agreement between India and the EU.
  • French – Indian trade, which had been growing steadily, declined significantly in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis (€9 billion as opposed to €11.5 billion in 2019).
  • A large proportion of French exports are made up of communications equipment, chemicals, and the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
  • France is India’s 17th largest customer and ranks 27th among supplying countries with 1% market share.
  • Currently more than 540 French companies are working as subsidiaries in various industries in India and employ about 300,000 people.
  • More than 20 cities in India already have sustainable urban development projects being carried out by French companies. Additionally, India and France are working together as a part of the “Smart Cities” programme.

Civil – Nuclear – Cooperation :

  • In 1950, the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) offered technical assistance to India to develop civil nuclear technology. This proposal was further realized in 1951 when the two countries signed a bilateral agreement “for the research and construction of beryllium-powered reactors”. India’s development of nuclear technology has benefited greatly from France.
  • France was the only Western country to praise India’s peaceful nuclear explosion in 1974, which was cited as evidence of India’s progress in the nuclear field.
  • Extending its support to India, France continued to supply fuel to India’s Tarapur nuclear plant after the US and Canada ended their agreements in 1974 in protest against peaceful nuclear explosions.
  • France publicly disagreed with US sanctions against India following the 1998 nuclear tests and contributed to the creation of a favorable environment for India’s interaction with the IAEA.
  • On September 30, 2008, an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation was signed between India and France. According to this agreement, France will rapidly implement the 9,900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) and build six 1,650 MW European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) nuclear reactors.

India – France bilateral trade relations :

  • Bilateral trade with France has seen steady growth over the past 10 years, which is expected to reach US$10.75 billion.
  • Recently, trade contracts worth about $16 billion have been signed between the two countries.
  • Both India and France agree that it is important for both to fast-track trade and investment agreements between India and the EU.
  • Currently, more than a hundred Indian businesses have set up business in France, compared to around 1,000 French companies.
  • Indian businessmen saw having their business in the United Kingdom as an entry point for their business into Europe. Now, with Brexit fast approaching, India is also considering France as an option.

India – France Defense Relations :

  • India and France are committed to advancing their defense ties, working to improve interoperability and continuing discussions among themselves to build joint forces cooperation.
  • India and France have signed an agreement for the provision of mutual logistics supply support between the two countries.
  • One of the pillars of India-France strategic partnership has been defense industrial cooperation between India and France.
  • Both French President Macron and Indian Prime Minister Modi have praised the progress France has made in previous agreements, especially in completing the delivery of Rafale fighter jets.
  • The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to advance their cooperation in the defense industry for the mutual benefit of both countries under the ‘Make in India’ scheme. He also extended his support to the existing and upcoming alliances between defense companies of the two countries.
  • The most famous French defense products purchased by India from France are the Rafale fighter aircraft and the P-75 Scorpene project.
  • Three different military exercises are organized between India and France which include Shakti, Varun and Garuda military exercises.
  • Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL), a joint venture between French aerospace company Dassault Aviation and India’s Reliance Group, has a manufacturing facility at Mihan in Maharashtra.

India – France Space Cooperation :

  • The French space agency, CNES, and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have a long history of joint space programs and satellite launches, dating back fifty years.
  • Both India and France released a “Joint Vision for Space Cooperation” in 2018, based on their shared historical relations in the field of civil space.
  • Addressing global challenges such as climate change, where both sides will continue their collaboration for climate monitoring on the joint missions Megha-Tropiques and SARAL-Altika, the ongoing research of the Trishna satellite for land infrared monitoring, and the Oceansat 3-Argos mission. .
  • An agreement has been signed by France and India for cooperation on the Gaganyaan mission.
  • The French space agency, CNES, will support the development of scientific experiment plans and supply French equipment, supplies and medical equipment to the Indian astronauts.
  • The option to train medical support personnel for Indian astronauts flying in space with India by 2022 was praised by both Prime Minister Modi and President Macron.

Attitude of India and France towards climate change :

  • Both India and France are increasing mutual cooperation towards each other in fighting climate change and promoting environmental protection.
  • France has started working in India since 2008 with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a mission dedicated to the preservation of global public goods.
  • India and France jointly established the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in November 2015 during COP21 to promote the development of solar energy.
  • Priorities shared by France and India include the blue economy and coastal resilience. They have also been launched with the aim of enhancing our mutual cooperation in marine scientific research and our understanding of the oceans.

Blue Economy :

  • The term “Blue Economy” refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources and ocean development initiatives for economic growth, increased livelihoods and employment opportunities, and the health of ocean ecosystems.
  • It provides an inclusive framework that enables coastal countries to make marine resources available to all people.
  • It also reaffirms the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG14, “Life Below Water.”
  • The idea mostly focuses on improving social justice and human well-being while reducing environmental threats and ocean ecological depletion.

Mutual cultural cooperation between India and France :

  • French citizens and French people have deep faith in Indian culture.
  • In an effort to promote their respective cultures, India and France co-host festivals: Namaste France showcased India in France in late 2016, while Bonjour India was held in India in late 2017 and early 2018. .
  • France hosted India as a special guest at the Paris Book Fair 2021, while France hosted India as a special guest at the New Delhi World Book Fair 2022.
  • Shri A.S. For his significant contribution to the development of France-India space cooperation, France has honored Kiran Kumar with its highest civilian honor.
  • GeneStor, an Indian-based diagnostics company, has been recognized as the best investment in France.
  • Soumitra Chatterjee, an Indian, has been awarded France’s highest artistic honor.

Educational and technical cooperation between India and France :

  • There has been a gradual increase in bilateral educational cooperation between India and France in recent years. Universities and private organizations of India and France have signed about 300 MoUs among themselves.
  • Indo-French Center for Promotion of Advanced Research (CEFIPRA), operational for 25 years, as the focal point for promoting cross-border scientific cooperation in fundamental and applied research, frontier technologies and exchange of scientists and postdoctoral researchers. Works in.
  • Both French and Indian universities and research institutions are interested in furthering their technical and scientific cooperation. India and France have launched the “Raman-Charpak Fellowship”, which will allow exchange of doctoral students from the two countries.
  • Supported by scholarship programs and cooperation between Indian and French educational institutions, 10,000 Indian students have been enrolled in French universities in 2019 with a target of 20,000 by 2025.
  • India and France have launched Educational Exchange Program (EEP) among themselves. Provides a comprehensive framework for bilateral academic cooperation, including mutual recognition of degrees, strengthening research programs and promoting student-scholar research mobility through a flexible visa regime.

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Practice Questions for Preliminary Exam :

Q.1. Consider the following statements regarding India-France strategic partnership.

  1. This is the second state visit of French President Macron to India on the occasion of Republic Day of 2024 and the tenth visit of a French leader as the guest of honor on Republic Day.
  2. India and France reaffirmed their commitment to jointly address the interconnected challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
  3. India and France are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their mutual strategic partnership in the year 2024.

Which of the above statement /statements is correct ?

(A). Only 1 and 2 

(B). Only 2 and 3

(C) Only 1 and 3.

(D). All of these.

Answer – (B)

Practice Questions for Mains Exam :

Q.1.“The Indian Ocean has become a priority area of discussion in the India-France bilateral talks as both countries are keen to expand their long-term strategic partnership in the maritime domain.” In the light of this statement, discuss in detail the various dimensions of India – France strategic partnership.


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