- During the 4th India-France annual defence dialogue chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Sebastien Lecornu, India and France discussed defence industrial cooperation with a focus on ‘Make in India’
- India and France have traditionally close and friendly relations.
- There is scope to strengthen maritime cooperation and complexity of bilateral exercises.
- 1998 Strategic Partnership document signifies convergence of views on a range of international issues and growing bilateral relationship.
- 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 engagement in the Indo-Pacific and India’s centrality in the French strategy for the region is of significance as well.
Defense and Security:
- A Ministerial level Defence dialogue has been held annually since 2018.
- Bilateral military exercises
- Exercise Shakti (Army)
- Exercise Varuna (Navy)
- Exercise Garuda (Air Force)
- IMEX 22
- Purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft by India in 2016.
- P-75 Scorpene Project: The contract for six Scorpene submarines from DCNS (Naval Group) was signed in 2006 and includes technology transfer at the Mazagaon Docks Ltd.
- Adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN
- Following the Pulwama attack (Feb 2019), France nationally listed the Pakistan-based ‘global terrorist’ Hafiz Saeed, which was followed up by the UN.
- France has also supported India’s requests to block attempts by Pakistan to enlist innocent Indian citizens under the UNSC 1267 sanctions Committee based on fabricated charges.
Environment and Technology:
- France is a founding member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), announced by PM Modi in 2015 at UN Climate Change CoP21.
- Further, India is a member of ITER, a multi-national consortium formed to construct an experimental fusion reactor, located in Cadarache, France.
- 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).
- There are over a 1000 French businesses in India in variegated sectors such as defense, ITES, consulting, engineering services, heavy industry et al.
- France is the 7th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative FDI stock of USD 9 billion from 2000 to 2020, which represents 2 % of the total FDI inflows into India.
- In the period April 2018-March 2019, India-France bilateral trade stood at 11.59 billion Euro, India’s exports to France were valued at 6.23 billion Euro meanwhile, French exports to India stood at 5.35 billion Euro.
- The 18th Joint Economic Committee meeting 2020 led to the signing of a bilateral ‘Fast Track Mechanism’ for investors. The first meetings were held on 16 February 2022
- In 2022, a dedicated desk was set up by Invest India for investor queries.
- India supplied France with nearly 2 million hydroxychloroquine tablets and 36 MT of paracetamol (API).
- France sent 120 ventilators, 50 thousand serological tests and 50 thousand nose/throat swabs as aid.
- France also announced a 200 million euro loan to India to help the vulnerable sections most severely affected by the pandemic.
- Over 2500 Indians had been repatriated from France and a similar number of French citizens were repatriated from India to their home countries through special flights.
- In the second wave, France provided 18 oxygen plants till date to hospitals across India which will fulfill oxygen requirements for 10 years.
- France also supplied over 100 tonnes of Liquid Medical Oxygen to the state of Maharashtra through the French industrial gas producer Air Liquide.
- Besides this, P2G assistance also came in from several French companies, including Airbus.
- The Indian diaspora in France is estimated to be around 5,00,000.
- There are more than 50 Indian community organizations active in France, majorly from Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Punjab.
- An increasing number of students (nearly 10,000) and professionals studying and working in mainland France.
- In 2016, ICCR presented the Namaste France cultural festival in France and the French side presented the French cultural festival Bonjour India from 2017-18.
- India will be the Country of Honour for the 2022 edition of the Paris International Book Fair (Livre Paris, June 2022).
- The International Day of Yoga has been organized by the Embassy of India in Paris.
- In 2022 as part of MEA’s AKAM Week, a French mural artist created a wall art at the Mandi House Metro Station in Delhi on the theme of “A French Garden” to reflect the “enduring friendship” between the two countries.
- Though, India has a trade surplus with France but the bilateral trade could be improved.
- In recent interactions at the EU level, India has sought an early harvest trade agreement, while working towards a comprehensive FTA.
- As G20 members, both nations must focus on reviving global growth.