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India and France relations

  • IASbaba
  • January 7, 2023
  • 0
International Relations
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Context:

  • 36th India-France Strategic Dialogue between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Diplomatic Adviser to the President of France, Emmanuel Bonne was held in New Delhi.
  • India and France reiterated their commitment to take forward their strategic partnership to ensure peace, stability and security in the Indo-Pacific based on common beliefs in the rules-based international order and strategic autonomy.
  • Both sides reiterated that in view of the emerging uncertainties and volatile global security environment, there was a need for closer cooperation between India and France, including in the UNSC and other multilateral forums..

 Bilateral relationship:

  • The new French Indo-Pacific strategy advances three key threats to be met by Paris, beyond dealing with North Korean belligerence:
  • Transnational terrorism
  • Chinese challenges to the multilateral order in the region
  • Climate change
  • Indo Pacific: France is a preferred partner in the Indo-Pacific and there is now a blueprint for cooperation in this field in the form of a Joint Strategic Vision for cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region concluded by both countries in 2018.

Economic:

  • 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 FY 2020-21, bilateral trade stood at $ 9.12 Bn and has increased to $ 9.87 Bn during the period April 2021 – January 2022.
  • Launch of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) in France
  • “Co-localisation of production” with India as a priority indicates urgency to take steps for ensuring a more diversified and stable Indo-Pacific and global periphery.

Security:

  • Bilateral defence ties are in fine fettle and France has largely stuck to the promised delivery of Rafale aircrafts to India.
  • The challenge here is to move from a buyer-seller relationship to an investor-investee one by making defence equipment in India accompanied by a transfer of technology.
  • Safran Group’s decision to set up their largest and first aircraft engine MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) facility in Hyderabad.
  • The facility will be set up with an investment of Rs 1200 cr and is expected to create about 1,000 high-skilled jobs in Telangana.
  • India and France have conducted joint patrols from the Reunion Island for the first time.
  • The patrol was conducted by a P-8I aircraft with French Navy personnel on board.
  • Bilateral military exercises
  • Exercise Shakti (Army)
  • Exercise Varuna (Navy)
  • Exercise Garuda (Air Force)
  • IMEX 22

Technology:

  • For the first time, the two countries concluded a Joint Vision for Space Cooperation in 2018.
  • The vision document talks of bringing societal benefits of space technology, situational awareness in space domain and cooperation in satellite navigation and related technologies.
  • As for nuclear energy, the two leaders must review progress in the joint construction of the world’s largest nuclear park in Jaitapur, Maharashtra.
  • The French tech services multinational Atos, for instance, provides India with supercomputing hardware and quantum computing simulation software.
  • A recent Track 1.5 Dialogue hosted jointly by think tanks — Gateway House in Mumbai and Ifri in Paris — revealed the importance of Bangalore for the French economy, noting the large number of tech engineers from France who are located in the southern city.
  • France also has a special tech visa for Indian engineers, enabling robust exchanges.
  • Digital cooperation is being stepped up in cyber security and on building standards for public digital infrastructure.

Environment and Ecology:

  • India will be the first “country of honour” at the Sea Tech . Week in Brest, France, a major international event bringing  together Blue Economy stakeholders.
  • France announced its support for Prime Minister Modi’s Lifestyle for the Environment (LIFE) initiative, and will seek to work with India on promoting sustainable lifestyles to fight climate change.
  • Regarding solar alliance, India has started having annual summits with France and Germany from 2000.
  • 2021: Year Of Indo-French Alliance Towards A Greener Planet
  • To strengthen Indo-French cooperation in sustainable development, increase the effectiveness of actions in favour of global environment protection and give them greater visibility.
  • Based on five main themes: (1) Environmental protection; (2) Climate change; (3) Biodiversity conservation; (4) Sustainable urban development; (5) Development of renewable energies and energy efficiency.

Suggestions for future:

  • France holds the rotating presidency of the EU
  • In this regard, discussion on FTA and the Investment Agreement that India is negotiating with the EU and persuade France to weigh in favourably with the Brussels bureaucracy and other stakeholders.
  • More can be done in the area of digital sovereignty where India is a potential model for France with its use of open platforms and open-source public goods like India Stack and MOSIP; regulation, especially personal data empowerment and protection; health data and health tech.
  • France and India must now invest in preventing digital platforms from being weaponised and avert threats to critical infrastructure.
  • They must use their unique strengths — India in conceptualising and deploying large-scale open-source platforms, foundational IDs, IT services and fintech, and France in AI, cyber, quantum technologies, data empowerment and protection, to create the next-gen solutions for the world.
  • Accelerate investment between two countries in low carbon alternatives like wind, solar PV, biomethane, heat pumps, nuclear and clean hydrogen.
  • India has the market, France has the technology and capital, and the EU has the political will and incentives to drive the transition to green hydrogen.
  • Major French multinationals such as Air Liquide, Engie and TotalEnergies are already pursuing hydrogen energy, and pilot projects with Indian partners can be planned
  • They discussed expanding the scope of defence cooperation to include the co-development of futuristic technologies in line with India’s priorities of Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Way forward:

  • Newer areas of cooperation such as connectivity, climate change, cyber-security and science and technology.
  • In these important areas, the two leaders will be briefed by officials about progress made so that roadblocks, if any, can be tackled.
  • France has supported India’s G20 presidency and it goes a long way in strengthening ties between the two countries.

Source: The hindu

 

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