India and France deepen ties

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India and France deepen ties Blog Image

What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • Indo-France Bilateral Relations
  • What are the key pillars of India-France Cooperation?
  • News Summary: India and France deepen ties
  • What are the key outcomes of the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron?
  • Key announcements made during the visit

Why in news?

  • French President Emmanuel Macron visited India as the Chief Guest for the 75th Republic Day celebrations.
  • During this visit, India and France made significant decisions with the primary focus on enhancing collaboration in the defence sector.

Indo-France Bilateral Relations

  • Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1948, India and France have enjoyed 75 years of close and friendly relations.
  • In 1998, India and France elevated their diplomatic relationship to Strategic Partnership which completed 25 years in January, 2023.
  • This Strategic Partnership, first for France outside the EU, has been instrumental in the comprehensive growth of India-France relationship.

Key Pillars of India-France Cooperation

  • Defence Cooperation: The Agreement on Defence Cooperation signed in 2006 and renewed for another 10 years in 2016 gives the framework for all defence cooperation activities between India and France.
    • A DRDO office was opened in the Embassy in 2023 for strengthening technology cooperation.
    • The procurement of Rafale jets as part of India’s air power is a testament to the deep defence ties.
  • Space Cooperation: ISRO and the French Space Agency, CNES have been carrying on various joint research programmes and collaborating in satellite launches.
    • For example, on 22 June 2022, GSAT-24 communication satellite of New Space India Ltd (NSIL) was successfully launched on-board Ariane-5 from Kourou, French Guiana.
  • Civil Nuclear Cooperation: An agreement on civil nuclear cooperation was signed between India and France in 2008.
    • France is involved in the construction of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project. However, the progress here has been slow (the first pact was agreed in 2008).
    • The two sides have also agreed to establish a partnership on Small Modular Reactors (SMR) and Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR).
  • Economic Cooperation: They have important bilateral investments and trade and commercial cooperation, particularly in sectors involving IT corridors, smart-cities, railways, capital and trade exchanges, skill development, etc.
    • Bilateral trade reached an impressive $13.4 Bn in 2022-23, marking a significant 7.72% increase from the previous year.
    • France has emerged as the 11th largest investor in India, with FDI inflow of $10.5 Bn from April 2000 to March 2023.
  • Digital Cooperation: India-France Roadmap on Cyber security and Digital Technologies was one of the outcomes of the visit of the PM of India to France in 2019.
    • In July 2023, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) was launched from the Eiffel Tower, offering secure and convenient transactions for Indian visitors and NRIs.
  • Culture and Tourism Cooperation: There are many Indo-French cultural associations which organise various events across France.
    • For example, the Government of India organised ‘Namaste France’ cultural festival in several cities of France in 2016.
  • Marine and Maritime Cooperation: Indo-French Maritime Cooperation is based on the India-France Roadmap on Blue Economy and Ocean Governance adopted in 2022.
  • Community in France: The Indian community, including NRIs in mainland France number around 109,000, largely originating from French enclaves of Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe and Chandernagore. 

News Summary: India and France deepen ties

  • French President Emmanuel Macron was on a two-day State visit to India. He was also the Chief Guest for India's Republic Day.
    • The 2nd Infantry Regiment of the French Foreign Legion also participated in this year’s Republic Day Parade.
  • This year, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership.
    • PM Modi was the Guest of Honour at the Bastille Day Parade held on 14 July 2023 in Paris.

Key outcomes of the visit

  • Roadmap for India-France Defence Industrial Partnership
    • The main goal of this roadmap is to find areas to work together on making military equipment.
    • This includes designing, developing, and producing things together, as well as creating supply chains for defence goods between the two countries.
    • It aims to foster collaboration in cutting-edge technologies, including robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles, platforms, and cyber defence.
    • The defence roadmap will cover both air and space technologies, maritime technology, including underwater domain awareness.
  • Defence-space partnership
    • The two sides also signed a new agreement for a defence-space partnership that will see them collaborate on space situational awareness.
  • Airbus-TATA chopper deal
    • Tata and Airbus Helicopters have entered into an industrial partnership for the production of H125 helicopters, fostering collaboration in the defence sector.
    • Two mega multi-billion-dollar defence deals in the pipeline between the two countries are currently in the cost negotiation phase. These are:
      • The 26 Rafale-M fighter jets for the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers, and
      • Three additional Scorpene-class conventional submarines.
  • Cooperation in satellite launches
    • An MoU was sealed between New Space India Ltd and France's Arianespace, signifying cooperation in satellite launches and advancing space exploration initiatives.
  • Introduction of the Young Professional Scheme
    • The scheme facilitates:
      • the exchange of individuals between 18-35 years of age, and
      • extension of visa validity to five years for Schengen visas for Indian students pursuing master's degrees in France.
  • Other areas of cooperation
    • Both sides also agreed on cooperation in healthcare, which would include education, training and research, and the use of AI in healthcare.

Key announcements made during the visit

  • Year 2026 as the India France Year of Innovation.
  • Operationalization of UPI at Eiffel Tower.
  • Setting up of a Solar Academy in Senegal under the STAR-C program of International Solar Alliance (ISA).
    • STAR-C programme aims to boost solar power ecosystems in the poorest countries.
    • The initiative is run by ISA in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
  • Establishment of India’s Consulate in Marseille and French Bureau de France in Hyderabad

Q1) What is NewSpace India Limited (NSIL)? 

NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of the Government of India. It is the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Q2) What is Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower is a 300-meter-tall iron tower in Paris, France. It's one of the most recognizable monuments in the world and is a symbol of France.

Source: India and France deepen ties: Joint defence roadmap, space cooperation, and more | MEA | MEA | Times of India | Indian Express