India and France have agreed to enhance cooperation in strategic areas, space, science, sustainable development, and cooperation at the institutional level.
Various agreements were made between the two countries during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to France from July 13- July 14 to attend the Bastille Day celebrations. In the area of strategic cooperation, an agreement was signed between Indian Oil Corporation Limited and Total Energies Gas and Power Ltd (Total Energies) to establish a long-term LNG Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA).
In the area of scientific cooperation, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Chennai, and Instiut Français de Recherche pour l’exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER) on collaborative research projects including in the area of Deep Ocean Mission, exchange of scientific and technical expertise.
A Letter of Intent was issued for Cooperation in the field of health and medicine. Areas of cooperation include digital health, AI for healthcare, medical waste treatment technology, biotechnology, one health approach for fight against antimicrobial resistance, exchange and training of medical doctors, etc.
To enhance cooperation in Space, the two countries made an agreement on Conjunction Analysis and Evaluation Service: Alerts and Recommendations (CAESAR) and the use of Exert Modules of JAVA for Assessment of Conjunction (JAC) software.
A joint declaration was made between ISRO and CNES concerning joint developments in the field of launchers.
In the area of institutional cooperation, an MoU was signed between MeitY and French Ministry of Economy for cooperation in the field of digital technologies.
Another MoU was signed on technical cooperation between Direction-Générale d’Aviation Civile, France and Airports Authority of India in the field of Civil Aviation.
An MoU on technical arrangements for Civil Aviation Security (AVSEC) was also signed between the two countries.
On July 14, amid increasing cooperation in the defence sector between the two nations, India is setting up a technical office of the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) at its embassy in Paris, according to the India-France joint statement .
France is one of India’s most important allies in building a self-sufficient defence industrial and technological foundation, the statement informed, adding that the co-development and co-production of cutting-edge defence technologies for the benefit of third nations is a joint commitment of India and France. To this end, both countries are also working towards adopting a Roadmap on Defence Industrial Cooperation, it added.
Meanwhile, PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron during their meeting on July 14, agreed that the relationship between India and France has been resilient in the darkest storms and bold and ambitious in riding the high tides of opportunities.
“When the two leaders met today, they agreed that ours is a relationship that has been resilient in the darkest storms and bold and ambitious in riding the high tides of opportunities. It is founded on shared values, belief in sovereignty and strategic autonomy, an unwavering commitment to international law and the UN Charter, an abiding faith in multilateralism and a common quest for a stable multipolar world,” said the joint communique on PM Modi’s France visit.
The two leaders took stock of the transformation and expansion of the relationship between the two nations over the past 25 years in every sector of bilateral cooperation. According to the joint communique, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then-French President Jacques Chirac in 1988 elevated the India-France relationship to a strategic partnership.
“To mark the 25th anniversary of the Indo-French partnership, both countries agree to adopt a roadmap to set the course for the bilateral relationship up to 2047, which will celebrate the centenary of India’s independence, the centenary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries and 50 years of the strategic partnership.”
The statement said India and France intend to work together in the interest of international peace and stability and reaffirm their commitment to a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
“They agree to work within the framework of a partnership between equals, in consonance with their respective sovereign and strategic interests, as they have done since 1998. In order to further deepen this Strategic Partnership, and in keeping with universal values of liberty, equality, democracy and the rule of law, India and France have decided to strengthen cooperation in the sectors of the future, so as to reinforce their sovereignty and decision-making autonomy, and to respond together to the major challenges confronting our planet, including through the cooperation between India and the European Union.”