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India, France reaffirm commitment to strategic partnership

One-on-one meeting between the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President of France Francois Hollande
One-on-one meeting between the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President of France Francois Hollande

Paris, April 11 India and France on Friday reaffirmed their commitment to their deep strategic partnership and deepened bilateral ties.

A joint statement issued at the end of a meeting between visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande said that the two leaders held “wide ranging and fruitful discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues reflecting their convergence in world views”.

“They reaffirmed their commitment to the strategic partnership and agreed to further deepen and strengthen bilateral ties based on shared principles and values relating to democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights,” it said.

“As global partners, India and France reiterated the need for urgent reform of the United Nations, including its Security Council, through an expansion in both categories of membership, to make it more representative of the contemporary world,” it said.

It said France and India shared common concerns and objectives in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

“In a further effort to strengthen global non-proliferation and export control regimes, France and India committed to continuing to work jointly towards India’s accession to the multilateral export control regimes, namely, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement,” the statement said.

On the pressing global challenge of climate change, Prime Minister Modi extended his full support to France for a successful outcome of CoP 21 to UNFCCC to be held in Paris later this year.

“The leaders expressed confidence that the Paris Conference would finalise an historic agreement for the post-2020 period.”

The Modi government’s initiative to create smart cities in India also came up for discussion.

“France welcomes India’s offer to be a partner of the smart cities development scheme and is ready to implement its best technological solutions and share its experience in the field of integrated sustainable cities, in particular in urban planning, urban grids, water and sanitation, sustainable mobility and digital technologies,” the statement said.

On the issue of security, Modi reiterated India’s strong condemnation of the heinous terrorists attack in France in January this year.

“Recalling that terrorism is a constant and strategic threat and that both our countries are facing the threat of terror on their soil, France and India are determined to support each other in combatting this scourge.

“The leaders reiterated their strong support for ongoing efforts aimed at defeating terrorism,” the statement said.

The two leaders called for “dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure, denying safe havens to terrorists, bringing perpetrators and conspirators of terrorist attacks to justice and to strengthen international frameworks to forge closer cooperation in this area, including through supporting initiatives in the framework of the UN, such as the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism”.
On defence cooperation, the two leaders stressed the importance of joint military exercises between their armies (Shakti), navies (Varuna), and air forces (Garuda) and welcomed the participation of the French Carrier Battle Group in the Varuna exercise in the Indian Ocean in the coming weeks.

The Indian government conveyed to the French side that “in view of the critical operational necessity for multirole combat aircraft for Indian Air Force, India would like to acquire 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition as quickly as possible”, according to the statement.

Cooperation in the nuclear energy sector too figured in the talks.

Modi and Hollande encouraged their commercial enterprises for an early conclusion of techno-commercial discussions on the proposal for construction of six 1650 Mwe nuclear power plants at Jaitapur in India.

“The two leaders also urged their atomic energy establishments to lay an ambitious foundation for the future of India-France civil nuclear cooperation, including a wide range of subjects, including in the area of civil nuclear liability.”

On economic cooperation, “India and France noted that there has been an uneven and subdued improvement in the state of the global economy and agreed that implementing structural reforms and appropriate macroeconomic policies are necessary for attaining long term stability and growth of global economy”.

“They expressed support for G-20 as the key forum for international economic cooperation,” the statement said.

On cultural cooperation the statement said the two leaders welcomed the range of cooperation initiatives undertaken by Indian and French institutions in a move to promote and preserve the unique heritage of the two countries.

On initiatives in the education sector, “the two leaders invited educational institutions of both countries to further expand their cooperation especially in the field of engineering and applied sciences”.

“They called for further development of cooperation in the field of technical and vocational education in line with the needs of the industry. The leaders also welcomed the role of French companies in India in the field of skill development of young Indians.”

The two leaders also expressed their appreciation on the long standing collaboration in science and technology between the two countries and reaffirmed their support to expand it further through establishing a Joint Indo-French Science and Technology Committee.

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