- In France, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with French President Emmanuel Macron during which the two leaders discussed issues of bilateral and mutual interests to further boost the comprehensive strategic partnership.
Key Highlights of the Modi-Macron talks
- “No Money for Terror” International Conference:
- France has backed India’s proposal to hold a global conference on terrorism.
- The two leaders also asked UN countries to support organising new “No Money for Terror” International Conference on Fighting Terrorist Financing in Melbourne in November 2019.
- Enhancing operational cooperation and fight radicalisation:
- In addition to pursuing the excellent cooperation between the nodal agencies and investigation agencies of the two countries, they agreed to enhance their operational cooperation and launch fresh efforts to fight radicalisation, especially Online Radicalisation.
- Implementation of the Christchurch Call to Action:
- The ‘Christchurch Call to Action’ agreement in Paris, which came in the backdrop of the attacks on Christchurch mosque in March 2019, is aimed at stopping abuse of the Internet by extremists.
- The two leaders reaffirmed their support for the implementation of the Christchurch Call to Action to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist online content.
- Delivery of Rafale aircraft:
- Both the leaders discussed issued joint statement regarding the delivery of first Rafale combat aircraft’ out of 36 aircraft, which is likely to be delivered in the third week of September.
- Strengthening cooperation in defence industry:
- The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen cooperation in defence industry field.
- They extended their support to partnerships between defence companies of the two countries in the spirit of “Make in India” and for mutual benefit of both countries.
- Jaitapur nuclear power project:
- Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Electricite de France (EDF) of France in 2018 signed an Industrial Way Forward Agreement for implementation of six nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur, Maharashtra with a total capacity of about 10,000 MW.
- The leaders have shown their satisfaction with the progress in negotiations .
- Deepen Space Cooperation:
- France and India decided to deepen space cooperation to meet new challenges together, including planetary exploration , human spaceflight etc.
- They took the decision to train medical support personnel for Indian astronauts, who will be part of India’s manned space mission by 2022.
- Framework for joint maritime domain awareness mission
- They signed an Implementing Arrangement for establishment of a framework for realisation of joint maritime domain awareness mission, to keep an eye on Chinese assertive moves in the Indian Ocean region.
- Cybersecurity and digital technology roadmap:
- Both the leaders adopted a cybersecurity and digital technology roadmap to expand Indo-French bilateral cooperation, particularly in the strategic sectors of high performance computing and Artificial Intelligence, with the target of bringing start-up ecosystems closer to each other.
Note: Cyber security is the new frontier where the two countries have decided to cooperate, and tackle challenges from hate speech to fake news.
- Reviewed the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region:
- France and India reviewed the swift implementation of the conclusions of the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, adopted during Macron’s visit in 2018.
- Appointment of a French liaison officer:
- For implementation of the White Shipping agreement, India and France agreed on the appointment of a French liaison officer at the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurgaon.
Note: India and France has signed White Shipping agreement to enable information sharing on maritime traffic and maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
- Framework to promote bilateral trade and investment:
- The two leaders have decided to have an appropriate framework to find ways to further promote bilateral trade and investment and speed up resolution of market access issues to the benefit of economic operators.
- It was decided to jointly strengthen work on solving trade and investment issues of concern for French and Indian companies.
- Leaders jointly agreed that the high-level France-India economic and financial dialogue should be reactivated.
- Inclusive peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan
- The two sides decided to cooperate actively for international peace and security, including in the regional crises threatening them.
- They supported an inclusive peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
- This will lead to a lasting political solution based on preservation of the gains, including the constitutional order, human rights, particularly women’s rights, and liberties gained over the past 18 years.
- They called for timely holding of Presidential elections; cessation of terrorist violence; and end to terrorist safe havens for enduring and sustainable peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.
- Defence cooperation with France began in the 1950s when India acquired the Ouragan aircraft and continued with the Mystères, Jaguar (Anglo-French), Mirage 2000.
- After the Cold War, France decided that its preferred partner in the Indian Ocean Region would be India.
- The two countries started joint naval exercises ‘Varuna’ in 1983.
- France has historically shown more understanding of our strategic programmes than others. It was the first western country with which we established a Strategic Partnership.
- France is the first country with which India initiated a Strategic Dialogue after 1998 nuclear tests when France refused to impose any bilateral sanctions on and displayed a far greater understanding of India’s security compulsions compared to other countries.
- France helped India set up the Sriharikota launch site assisted in engine development and hosting of payloads.
Areas of Cooperation:
- The areas of defence cooperation, space cooperation and civil nuclear cooperation constitute the three principal pillars of our Strategic Partnership.
- Apart from these traditional fields of cooperation, India and France are increasingly engaged in new areas of cooperation like climate change, sustainable growth and development, the International Solar Alliance etc.
- France was the first P-5 country to support India’s claim for a permanent seat in an expanded and reformed UN Security Council and has continued to support India’s claim.
- France has provided consistent support to India’s candidature for the membership of Multilateral Export Control regimes,viz. NSG and MTCR. France’s support was vital in India’s accession to MTCR in June 2016.
- India and France have consistently condemned terrorism and have resolved to work together for adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN.
- In 2017, the bilateral trade between India and France was worth 9.62 billion euro. If both the countries have to reach the trade of 15 million euro by 2022, we both will have to work towards further strengthening our trade relations.
- Indo-French Defence Exercises
- Exercise Shakti (Army)
- Exercise Varuna (Navy)
- Exercise Garuda (Air Force)