Indo-French Relations

Indo-French Relations took a major leap when a French military contingent participated in the last Republic Day Parade. (First country to which India bestowed such an honour.)

Indo-French Relations | Fight against International Terrorism

  • India and France have been victims of international terrorism.
  • India-France cooperation on international terrorism is ranging from bilateral defence cooperation, joint working groups, joint military exercises to cooperation at multilateral forums.
  • Both countries call for early conclusion of negotiations and adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in UN, which is perceived to be ‘an ideal platform for a global alliance of nations against international terrorism’.
  • Both welcomed UNSC resolution 2249, which calls for necessary measures against threats of Daesh or IS.
  • Both call for comprehensive measures ranging from ending terror financing, dismantling terror infrastructure and preventing supply of arms.
  • Both call for decisive actions against Lashkar-e-Tayibba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups.
  • Both recognized that terrorist activities from across Afghanistan borders pose serious threats to peace, security and stability of Afghanistan.

Indo-French Relations | Defence Co-operation

  • Modernization of Indian defence forces is priority of incumbent government – speed up defence procurement and indigenization of defence manufacturing.
  • ‘Make in India’ programme aims at ‘promoting self-reliance, indigenisation, technology upgradation and achieving economies of scale and developing capabilities for exports in defence sector.’
  • Geostrategic environment and ‘parlous state of much of India’s inventory’ points out that the country would be investing in new fighter aircrafts, attack helicopters, howitzers, submarines and aircraft carriers and other programmes.
  • Defence cooperation is thus a crucial area of cooperation between India and France.
  • Enhanced political relations between two countries helped to develop defence cooperation.
  • After Cold War, India-France defence cooperation has gradually expanded.
  • Strategic partnership calls for extensive defence cooperation between two countries.
  • India and France relations have expanded in areas of joint military exercise, arms sales, research & development.
  • For instance, technological cooperation in areas of light aircraft engines, tank technology, etc have been developed.
  • Cooperation with France will be helpful in enhancing defence manufacturing base in India.
  • Defence manufacturing is key to ‘Make in India’ programme.
  • For instance, French company, DCNS, is reportedly in negotiations with Indian companies for collaboration in manufacturing in India.
  • France has shown interest in intensification of cooperation in collaboration in defense technologies and research and development.
  • Apart from defence cooperation, India and France have frequent military exercises, which are highly appreciated.
  • Their recent military exercise included component of countering terrorism.

Indo-French Relations | Trade and Investment

  • A ‘state of economic emergency’ in France.
  • Spillover effect of crises in adjacent areas has been putting unprecedented pressure on EU, including France.
  • India is likely to remain one of the fastest growing economies.
  • Trade and investment remains another top priority for countries.
  • Bilateral trade in services has been constantly growing.
  • France is an important partner in terms of investment.
  • ‘Make in India’ programme: France has promised to support India’s ambitious programme in manufacturing sector.
  • France and India have also launched the CEO forum.
  • As part of ‘Make in India’ initiative, an agreement was signed between Airbus Group and Mahindra to manufacture helicopters.

Indo-French Relations | Infrastructure, Urban Structure, Development and Clean Energy

  • MoUs for cooperation in areas of urban development, urban transport, water and waste treatment and solar energy.
  • MoUs under ‘Smart City’ theme for city-specific urban development between French Development Agency (AFD) and governments of Maharashtra, UT of Chandigarh, and UT of Puducherry for cities of Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry.
  • MoUs to expand cooperation in areas of renewable energy.
  • Agreement between French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and Green Ventures signed for solar projects in rural areas in India.
  • Agreement between CEA and Crompton Greaves to explore opportunities in solar PV system with storage function for Indian airports.
  • Apart from solar energy, energy efficiency attracts French businessmen as well.
  • Railways: Indo-French technological cooperation in area of railways began in sixties.
  • Both countries cooperated in areas of electric lines, designs of substations, ancillary facilities and manufacture of electric locomotives.
  • India has been trying to modernize its railway infrastructure – Indian Ministry of Railways and French National Railways signed protocol for cooperation (2015).
  • India and France have identified high speed and semi-high speed trains, station renovation and operations, modernization of current operations and infrastructure and suburban trains as areas of cooperation.
  • French multinational, Alstom has been picked to supply 800 electric locomotives and will also build an electric locomotive factory in Madhepura, Bihar for US$ 3 billion.
  • Government of India plans to invest US$ 137 billion to modernize railways by 2020.

Indo-French Relations | Science & Techology

  • France could be a crucial partner in nuclear technology as it has advance nuclear technology and produces 75 per cent electricity through it – Nuclear energy would diversify energy basket and enhance energy security of country.
  • Although there are challenges in nuclear cooperation between two countries, France sees India as a potential market for its nuclear technology.
  • Both ‘encouraged industrial companies to conclude techno-commercial negotiations by end of 2016 for construction of six nuclear reactor units at Jaitapur.’
  • MoU between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Areva, France in 2009.
  • French role would be crucial for India’s membership in export control regimes.
  • France has provided support for India’s entry into international export control regimes.
  • MoUs for expanding cooperation among institutions engaged in scientific research.

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