'India-France relations will scale new heights of progress'

A Draft Correspondent | New Delhi

On 10 September 2023, amid the bustling proceedings of the G-20 Leaders’ Summit held in New Delhi, a significant rendezvous unfolded. The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, engaged in a bilateral discourse with the distinguished French President, Emmanuel Macron. Within the walls of this meeting, the two leaders delved into an intricate evaluation and appraisal of the strides taken in their bilateral relations since their previous encounter in July of the same year, nestled in the heart of Paris. Additionally, the agenda encompassed a spirited exchange of perspectives on pivotal international and regional events.

President Macron's sojourn to India followed mere weeks after Prime Minister Modi's momentous sojourn to Paris in July 2023. During this visit, Modi had been extended the esteemed title of Guest of Honour for the commemoration of French National Day on the 14th of July. This celebration marked the 25th anniversary of the formidable strategic alliance between India and France.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with French President Emmanuel Macron at the meet
In acknowledgment of the robustness of the India-France partnership, rooted in profound trust, mutual values, a shared dedication to sovereignty and strategic self-sufficiency, an unwavering commitment to international jurisprudence, and the core tenets enshrined in the UN Charter, as well as an enduring faith in multi-lateralism, the two leaders accentuated the necessity to broaden their cooperation to confront regional and global tribulations.

They reasserted their steadfast pledge to collectively stand as a force for good, disseminating the message of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' - signifying 'one earth, one family, one future' - amidst the turbulent tides remolding the global landscape.

President Macron extended his felicitations to Prime Minister Modi for India's triumph in Mission Chandrayaan 3. The two leaders reminisced about the six-decade legacy of space cooperation between India and France, while also scrutinizing the progress since the inaugural Strategic Space Dialogue in June 2023.

They acknowledged the robust civil nuclear bonds between India and France, lauding the headway in deliberations concerning the Jaitapur nuclear plant project. They warmly received the sustained involvement of both parties in expanding bilateral cooperation for the joint development of SMR and AMR technologies, in addition to the imminent sealing of a dedicated declaration of intent. France reiterated its steadfast and unwavering support for India's accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

With the 'Horizon 2047' Roadmap, the Indo-Pacific Roadmap, and other recent milestones etched during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit serving as guiding lights, the leaders engaged in a comprehensive discourse encompassing progress and the subsequent steps in the realization of fresh and ambitious objectives for collaboration in realms of defense, space, nuclear energy, digital public infrastructure, pivotal technology, climate change, education, and people-to-people contacts.

They also propelled their dialogues regarding the India-France partnership in the Indo-Pacific region and Africa, inclusive of domains like infrastructure, connectivity, energy, biodiversity, sustainability, and industrial ventures. They underscored their role as facilitators of solutions for the Indo-Pacific through their collaborative efforts within the framework of the International Solar Alliance, a collaborative endeavor initiated by both India and France, along with the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

The two leaders iterated their commitment to fortify defense cooperation through a collaborative partnership in the design, development, testing, and production of advanced defense technologies and platforms. They aspired to expand production within India, not only for its own needs but also to cater to other nations within the Indo-Pacific and beyond. In this context, they also issued a call for the expeditious finalization of the Defense Industrial Roadmap.

Accentuating domains like digitalization, science, technological innovation, education, culture, health, and environmental cooperation, the leaders advocated for the reinforcement of institutional bonds in these spheres, drawing inspiration from the blueprint of the Indo-French Campus for the Indo-Pacific. Within this context, they reaffirmed their dedication to the expansion of cultural exchanges and concerted efforts towards the development of museums.

Prime Minister Modi extended his gratitude to President Macron for France's unwavering backing of India's stewardship of the G-20, which had propelled inclusivity, solidarity, and coherence in global endeavors to grapple with universal challenges and foster a more steadfast global equilibrium. India and France also extended a warm embrace to the African Union's accession to the G-20, anticipating a collaborative journey towards the advancement, prosperity, and upliftment of Africa.

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