India-France Relations

India-France Relations

News: Recently, PM Modi concluded his France visit.

Background:
• Several Defence, climate and other agreements were made. We will analyze some of the outcomes here and understand why IndiaFrance partnership is a special one.

Why is it a special partnership?
• France happens to be India’s First strategic partner. France is our old and most trusted partner.
• In 2023, we mark 25th year of Strategic ties with France and PM Modi was the Guest of Honour at France’s Bastille Day parade.
• France was the first country to recognize India’s nuclear tests and it did not put any sanctions on India unlike other Western countries.
• At critical points, France has stood by India, including during the civil nuclear negotiations with the US.
• The signing of an agreement for the supply of 36 Rafale aircraft in September 2016, and an industrial agreement in March 2018 to build six European pressurized water reactors (EPR) at the Jaitapur site are directly linked to this partnership.

What were the outcomes of recent visit?

Defence Deals
• Purchase of 26 Rafale-M (the marine version) fighters for Indian Navy and co-production of Three Scorpene class submarines.
• Unlike USA, French deals come with no strings attached. For example, recent deals with USA do not include the transfer of critical part of the technology, but French have offered 100% technology transfer.

Climate change
• Last year a roadmap was signed on Green Hydrogen and Blue economy and Ocean Governance.

People to People ties
• Indian students pursuing Masters in France will have the opportunity for a 5 year work visa as compared to 2 years earlier.

Indo-Pacific
• The region is important for Shared perspectives. As there is a French military base in Djibouti and France’s overseas territory in Reunion and Mayotte islands are present in Indian Ocean region.
• Thus, shared interests in this part of world also enhances growing co-operation between 2 nations.

Economic Ties
• An MoU signed last month between NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL) and Lyra, a Francebased payment services provider, will be implemented soon to enable UPI and RuPay payments in Europe.

Way Forward
• France has consistently supported India’s views on Russia-Ukraine war at the same time India also realizes that if at all there has to be any rapprochement between Europa and Russia, it has to be led by France.
• For this reason, French support will also be critical to a consensus outcome at the G20 summit in New Delhi this September. 

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