Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

Tech Diplomacy


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: recent developments and bilateral partnerships

Mains level: Outcomes of the recent visit of Prime minister to US and France, opportunities for India

What’s the News?

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visits to the US and France have focused on enhancing strategic and economic cooperation in the technology sector. These visits took place against the backdrop of global political and economic instability, including the Ukraine war and concerns surrounding China’s rise.

Central Idea

  • Prime Minister Modi’s visits to the US and France have bolstered India’s tech diplomacy efforts, enabling cooperation in critical areas such as defence technology and digital advancements. The partnerships formed during these visits are set to define the trajectory of tech usage, management, and proliferation in the years leading up to the centenary of these bilateral relationships in 2047.

What is mean by tech diplomacy?

  • Tech diplomacy refers to the strategic use of technology and digital diplomacy to foster international relations, promote cooperation, and address global challenges.
  • It involves leveraging technology as a tool for diplomacy, enabling countries to engage with each other, build alliances, and shape the global technology landscape

Defence Technology Partnerships established during the visits

  1. United States:
  1. General Electric and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL):
  • MoU- General Electric and HAL – indigenous manufacture of GE F-414 jet engines in India.
  • These engines are intended for use in the Light Combat Aircraft Mk 2, and the partnership involves the transfer of technology (TOT).
  • This collaboration strengthens India’s indigenous defence production capabilities and supports the development of advanced combat aircraft
  1. General Atomics: India procured- 31 MQ-9B HALE (High-Altitude Long Endurance) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from General Atomics.
  • These advanced UAVs provide critical surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to bolster India’s defense preparedness.
  1. France:
  1. Safran and Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO):
  • Safran, a French aerospace company, and DRDO- jointly develop a military jet engine in India– Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
  • Enhance India’s indigenous defense manufacturing capabilitiesstrengthen its air superiority
  1. Safran and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL):
  • Safran and HAL- co-develop the engine for the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH)
  • Advancing India’s capabilities in helicopter technology and reinforces its defense preparedness

Advancing Digital Technology Cooperation

  1. United States:
  • The Indo-US iCET initiative- foundation for discussions and agreements- digital technology.
  • Framework for cooperation- cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing (QC), semiconductors, and high-performance computing (HPC).
  • MoU- Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)- US- foster cooperation in digital technologies.
  • Collaboration- semiconductor capabilities, developing AI and QC systems, and establishing standards for global cooperation.
  1. France:
  • Based on the Indo-French roadmap on Cyber Security and Digital Technology adopted in 2019, an MoU on cooperation in digital technologies was signed between the MeitY and the French Ministry of Economy.
  • This agreement aimed to strengthen collaboration in areas such as cybersecurity, AI, and QC.

Addressing Cybersecurity and Digital Infrastructure

  1. United States:
  • The US and India- importance of India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI)- reducing the global digital divide.
  • The US expressed support for India’s DPI initiatives, recognizing their potential to bridge the digital divide and promote inclusive growth.
  1. France:
  • The MoU- Indo-French roadmap on Cyber Security and Digital Technology- strengthen cooperation in cybersecurity.
  • Agreement- critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity education, and skills development
  • France joined the US – endorsing India’s efforts to bridge the digital gap and promote digital inclusion.

How India can capitalize on these partnerships?

  • Invest in research and developmentenhance its technological capabilities.
  • Leverage the expertise and resources available.
  • Training programs, educational reforms, and skill developmentnurture a talented pool – AI, cybersecurity, quantum computing, and digital technology.
  • Encouraging entrepreneurship- favourable ecosystem for startups- incentives to startups
  • Clear policies and regulations that promote collaboration, protect intellectual property rights, facilitate technology transfer, and ensure data security.
  • State-of-the-art research facilities, testing laboratories, and advanced digital infrastructure to support collaborative projects and attract investments.


  • Prime Minister Modi’s historic visits to the US and France have laid the groundwork for strengthening India’s technological diplomacy. By focusing on capacity-building and leveraging these partnerships, India can navigate the strategic journey of technological advancements in the coming years, cementing its position as a key player on the global stage

Also read:

iCET: Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies between India and US

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