New Delhi: President of the French Republic H. E. Mr. Emmanuel Macron hosted Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, on a brief working visit to Paris on 4 May 2022.
India and France have been strategic partners since 1998. The strategic partnership is anchored on the solid bedrock of deep and consistent mutual trust, abiding faith in strategic autonomy, unwavering commitment to international law; and belief in a multipolar world shaped by reformed and effective multilateralism. Both are committed to the shared values of democracy, fundamental freedoms, rule of law and respect for human rights.
In a post-pandemic word, facing global geopolitical challenges, India and France reaffirmed their commitment to prepare for the future together by further deepening their cooperation, expanding it in new domains to meet emerging challenges and broadening their international partnership.
The Indo-Pacific Region
India and France have built one of the premier strategic partnerships for advancing peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. They share a vision of a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region, based on commitment international law, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, freedom of navigation and a region free from coercion, tensions and conflicts.
Indo-France Indo-Pacific partnership encompasses defence and security, trade, investment, connectivity, health and sustainability. Besides bilateral cooperation, India and France will continue to develop new partnerships in various formats with like-minded countries in the region and within regional organisations. The first Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum held in Paris in February 2022 during the French presidency of the Council of the EU launched an ambitious agenda at the EU level based on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo Pacific.
India and France reaffirmed their commitment to deepen India-EU Strategic Partnership and look forward to closely work together in the implementation of the India-EU Connectivity Partnership and the decisions made at the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting in Porto in May 2021. They welcomed the recent launch of the India-EU Trade and Technology Council that will foster high level coordination on strategic aspects of trade, technology and security as well as the restart of negotiations on India-EU Agreements on Trade, Investment and Geographical Indicators.
Both sides welcomed the ongoing intense cooperation across all defence domains. Joint exercises (Shakti, Varuna, Pegase, Desert Knight, Garuda) illustrate efforts towards better integration and interoperability wherever possible. Meanwhile, maritime cooperation between India and France has reached new levels of trust and will continue through exercises, exchanges and joint endeavours throughout the Indian Ocean.
India and France underscored that the long-standing armament cooperation is testimony to the mutual trust between the two sides. The six Scorpene submarines built at MDL in Mumbai illustrates the level of transfer of technology from France to India, in line with the “Make in India” initiative. As seen in the timely delivery of the Rafale despite the pandemic, the two sides enjoy synergy in the field of defence. Taking forward this momentum, and based on their mutual trust, both sides agreed to find creative ways for France’s deeper involvement in the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (Self-reliant India) efforts in advanced defence technology, manufacturing and exports, including through encouraging increased industry to industry partnerships.
Building on a great tradition of over 60 years of technical and scientific space cooperation, and in order to address the contemporary challenges that have arisen in space, in particular maintaining a secure access to space for all, India and France have agreed on setting up a bilateral strategic dialogue on space issues. It will bring together experts from space and defence agencies, administration and specialised ecosystem to discuss security and economic challenges in outer space, the norms and principles applicable to space as well as unveil new areas of cooperation. The two sides agreed to hold the first dialogue this year at the earliest.
In an increasingly digitalised world, India and France have strengthened cooperation between their cyber security agencies. Based on convergent outlook, they agree to join forces in promoting cyber norms and principles in order to counter cyber threats and agree to upgrade their bilateral cyber dialogue with a view to contributing to a peaceful, secure and open cyberspace.
The two sides have launched a number of initiatives to connect their Start-up ecosystems and welcome recent public-private engagement to work together, based on their respective successes, on building standards and protocols for free, inclusive, innovative and open public digital infrastructure and solutions to transform the lives of the people and for the larger global good. India will be the first Country of the Year at this year’s edition of Vivatech, Europe’s largest digital fair, in Paris.
Building upon the implementation of the Indo-French roadmap on cyber security and digital technology, India and France reiterate their willingness to deepen their cooperation on exascale technology, based upon the fruitful collaboration between C-DAC and ATOS, which includes making supercomputers in India. The two sides also agree to work together for more secure and sovereign 5G/6G telecom systems.
Both sides will continue to work jointly to increase the mobility of students, graduates, professionals and skilled workers while strengthening their efforts to combat irregular migration. Recognizing the benefit of bilateral student mobility, France maintains the objective of 20000 Indian students by 2025 which will create opportunities for new businesses, start-ups and innovation between the two countries.
The mutual interest in arts and culture has significantly grown, and artists from our two countries are more and more eager to collaborate around projects such as festivals and residences. The 75th anniversary of the independence of India is being celebrated since March 2022 through the Bonjour India festival, with a series of events throughout India. For its part, India is organising the Namaste France festival. India was the Guest of Honour at the Paris Book Festival 2022 and France will be the Guest of Honour at the next New Delhi World Book Fair.
Prime Minister Modi invited President Macron to visit India at his earliest convenience to hold detailed discussions on the areas of cooperation outlined during the visit and to finalise the modalities of realising the goals thus identified.