Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

What makes the India-France ‘strategic partnership’ tick

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including France.

Mains level : India-France Bilateral relations

France touts Indian strategic partnership, seals new defence deals during  Modi visit – Euractiv

Central Idea:

The article discusses the robust and special “Strategic Partnership” between India and France, tracing its origins, evolution, and current dimensions. It emphasizes the enduring nature of the relationship, marked by shared values, geopolitical convergence, and mutual respect, evident in diverse sectors such as defense, space, education, and commerce.

Key Highlights:

  • Origins and Evolution: The strategic partnership has deep roots dating back to 1998, with France being the first P-5 country to support India’s claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
  • Geopolitical Convergence: Both nations prioritize multipolarity, strategic autonomy, and share concerns about a unipolar world, contributing to their natural convergence.
  • Defense Collaboration: Collaboration includes the development of submarines, joint military exercises, and the acquisition of Rafale aircraft. The recently concluded Defense Industrial Roadmap further strengthens defense ties.
  • Space Cooperation: Cooperation in the space domain, which began in the 1960s, has seen a revival, with joint missions and agreements signed between ISRO and CNES.
  • Commercial and Civilian Ties: Efforts are underway to broaden the partnership into commercial and civilian spaces, with joint working groups in various sectors and a growing number of Indian students pursuing higher education in France.

Key Challenges:

  • Commercial Transition: Moving the partnership from government domains to commercial and civilian spaces presents a challenge, requiring sustained efforts to enhance cooperation in diverse sectors.
  • Differences Management: While strategic partnerships don’t require convergence on all issues, managing differences privately and not publicly is crucial for maintaining a mature and resilient relationship.

Key Terms:

  • Strategic Partnership: A special relationship between nations marked by cooperation in various domains, including defense, space, and commerce.
  • Multipolarity: A global order characterized by multiple centers of power and influence rather than a single dominant force.
  • P-5: The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including France.
  • Geopolitical Focus: Shifting attention and strategic interests from one region to another based on changing global dynamics.

Key Phrases:

  • Civilization Exceptionalism: Shared trait between India and France, emphasizing pride in their respective civilizations without imposing their values on each other.
  • Argumentative Intellectualism: Common characteristic shared by both nations, highlighting their appreciation for intellectual discourse.

Key Quotes:

  • “India and France have valued strategic autonomy in their own fashion.”
  • “‘Strategic Partnership’ does not require convergence on all issues but sensitivity so that differences, where these exist, are expressed in private and not publicly.”

Key Examples and References:

  • Jacques Chirac’s Declaration (1998): France’s support for India’s claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
  • Defense Industrial Roadmap: Agreements and collaborations in the defense sector, including the acquisition of Rafale aircraft and submarine development.

Key Statements:

  • “It is clear that the two countries do share a ‘Strategic Partnership’ that is special.”
  • “Both countries were quick to espouse the virtues of multipolarity.”

Critical Analysis:

The article provides a comprehensive overview of the India-France strategic partnership, highlighting its historical context, geopolitical rationale, and practical manifestations. It underscores the challenges of transitioning from government-centric collaborations to broader commercial and civilian engagements. The emphasis on managing differences privately and the maturity of the relationship reflect a nuanced understanding of international diplomacy.

Way Forward:

  • Enhanced Commercial Ties: Continued efforts to broaden the partnership into commercial and civilian sectors, fostering economic collaboration beyond defense and space.
  • Cultural and Educational Exchange: Strengthening cultural ties, fostering educational collaborations, and encouraging more Indian students to pursue higher education in France.
  • Diplomatic Sensitivity: Maintaining sensitivity in handling differences and ensuring that diplomatic disputes are resolved privately to uphold the mature and resilient nature of the partnership.

The India-France Strategic Partnership, rooted in shared values and mutual respect, continues to evolve positively, presenting opportunities for further growth and collaboration across various domains.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

Tech Diplomacy

Note4Students

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.

Conclusion

  • 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

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

What is Bastille Day?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : World History: French Revolution

bastille

Central idea

  • The National Day of France, also known as Bastille Day, is celebrated on July 14 every year.
  • Known as La Fete Nationale or Le 14 Juillet in French, the day is celebrated with fireworks and a parade.
  • One of the most important days in the history of France, it marks the fall of the Bastille, a military fortress and political prison, then considered a symbol of the monarchy and armoury.

French Revolution: A quick recap

  • The French Revolution, which occurred between 1789 and 1799, was a significant period of social and political upheaval in France.
  • The revolution was characterized by a period of radical social and political change, which saw the-
  1. Overthrow of the French monarchy
  2. Establishment of a republic, and
  3. Execution (Guillotine) of thousands of people, including King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette

Fall of the Bastille

  • Symbolism and Discontent: The Bastille, located in Paris, represented the autocratic rule and abuse of power by the monarchy.
  • Rising Unrest: Dissatisfaction with King Louis XVI’s leadership grew, and on July 14, 1789, Parisians gathered at the Bastille.
  • Demands and Confrontation: The crowd demanded the release of political prisoners and access to the fortress’s weapons. The Governor refused, leading to a violent clash.
  • Storming of the Bastille: After hours of fighting, the fortress fell as the people of Paris overwhelmed its defenders.

 

Do you know?

During the French Revolution, Queen Marie Antoinette reportedly said, “Let them eat cake” when told that the French people were starving and had no bread to eat.

The remark was seen as a symbol of the queen’s aloofness and disregard for the plight of the common people, and it helped fuel resentment towards the monarchy.

This statement alone sparked fury among the French masses leading to the mighty French Revolution.

Significance of the Event

  • Symbol of Triumph: The fall of the Bastille symbolized the people’s victory over the monarchy and the end of the oppressive old regime.
  • Catalyst for Change: This event sparked a period of intense violence and upheaval, paving the way for the revolutionaries to seize power and establish a new order.
  • Socio-political Transformations: The French Revolution led to the abolition of feudalism, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, and the establishment of the First French Republic.
  • Ideological Influence: The revolutionary principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity have left a lasting impact on global political and social movements.

Global Importance of the Event

  • Inspiring Other Nations: The fall of the Bastille became an inspiration for other nations to fight for their own rights and freedom.
  • Spreading Revolutionary Ideals: The French Revolution’s principles resonated globally, influencing subsequent revolutionary movements throughout history.
  • Rise of Democracy: The revolution’s emphasis on individual rights, democratic governance, and social equality has significantly shaped the political and social landscape worldwide.

Try this question from CS Mains 2019:

Explain how the foundation of the modern world was laid by the American and French Revolutions.

Post your answers here.
0
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 


Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

India- France: Expanding strategic partnership

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : India- France joint exercises

Mains level : India- France relations and strategic partnership

France

Context

  • The celebration by India and France of 25 years of their strategic partnership (January 26) presents an important opportunity for both to introspect on their relations. Signed in 1998, the time-tested strategic partnership has continued to gain momentum over shared values and aspirations of peace, stability and, most importantly, their desire for strategic autonomy. There are no real substantive disagreements between the two nations.

Crack Prelims 2023! Talk to our Rankers

France a largest foreign investor in India

  • France has emerged as a key trading partner of India with annual trade of $12.42 billion in 2021-22.
  • It is the 11th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative investment of $10.31 billion from April 2000 to June 2022, which represents 1.70% of the total foreign direct investment inflows into India.

France

France a key defence trading partner of India

  • Second largest defence supplier in 2017-2021: France has emerged as a key defence partner for India, becoming the second largest defence supplier in 2017- 2021. France has emerged as a major strategic partner for India with crucial defence deals and increased military to military engagement.
  • For example: A key example of this is the inducting of the French Scorpene conventional submarines, being built in India under technology transfer agreement of 2005, and the Indian Air Force having received 36 Rafale fighter jets.
  • Joint venture for aircraft manufacturing: The Tata group has also tied up with Airbus to manufacture C-295 tactical transport aircraft in Vadodara, Gujarat. This line is expected to be expanded into other civilian and military aircraft manufacturing in a joint venture with France.
  • Regular joint exercises: These relations are further fortified with the robust network of military dialogues and regularly held joint exercises Varuna (navy), Garuda (air force), and Shakti (army).
  • France is a willing partner for India: The importance of the defence partnership was further underscored in the recent statement by the French Ambassador to India, Emmanuel Lenain that France is a willing partner for India as it builds its national industrial base for the defence industry and for critical strategic defence projects.

France

Maritime ties

  • Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region: India and France are resident powers of the Indian Ocean and in the Indo-Pacific. The importance of the Indian Ocean Region was visible during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to New Delhi in 2018 when the leadership of both countries welcomed the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region which presented a blueprint for a strengthening of ties.
  • Like-minded partners: In operational terms, Franco-Indian joint patrolling in the Indian Ocean signals New Delhi’s intent to engage with like-minded partners in expanding its footprint in the Indian Ocean.
  • Common vision for open Indo-Pacific: Maritime security has further gained momentum as both countries have articulated their common vision for a free, fair and open Indo-Pacific. Both countries seeks to provide comprehensive solutions for maritime security, regional cooperation, climate change adaptation.
  • Common concerns over China’s aggressive behaviour: Both countries share concerns over the rise of China and its aggressive behaviour, regionally and globally, and have committed to working together to ensure that there is no imbalance in the Indo-Pacific
  • Indo-Pacific Trilateral Development Cooperation Fund: India and France in September 2022 agreed to set up an Indo-Pacific Trilateral Development Cooperation Fund that will support sustainable innovative solutions for countries in the region. The two partners have formed a trilateral grouping with the United Arab Emirates to ensure maritime domain awareness and security from the east coast of Africa to the far Pacific.

Other areas of cooperation 

  • Nuclear cooperation: France was among the first countries with which India signed a civil nuclear deal. Paris also played a critical role in limiting India’s isolation in the non-proliferation order after the 1998 nuclear tests.
  • Support for India’s bid for permanent membership of UNSC: In a sign of expanding cooperation, France supports India’s bid for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council as well as its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • India supported France in the Paris Agreement: An area of importance for both is climate change, where India has supported France in the Paris Agreement expressing its strong commitment towards mitigating climate change impact. New Delhi and Paris, as part of their joint efforts on climate change, launched the International Solar Alliance in 2015.
  • Deepening cooperation in complex geological order: As the complexities in the international geopolitical order have emerged, both countries have worked towards a deepening and broadening of their cooperation.

France

Way ahead

  • India’s partnership with France is built on common values and goals.
  • Both have underlined the importance of maintaining strategic autonomy with a shared understanding of global risks in many domains.
  • There is a high-level India-France political dialogue that is ongoing in defence, maritime, counterterrorism and the Indo-Pacific.
  • They are now forging ahead with cooperation in issues such as digitisation, cyber, green energy, a blue economy, ocean sciences, and space.

Conclusion

  • India and France understand each other’s interests and dependencies, be it in relation to China or Russia. In the marking of a long strategic partnership, a common interest in enhancing strategic autonomy and improving resilience, there is much ground ahead for further collaboration.

Mains question

Q. India’s partnership with France is built on common values and goals. In recent times, France has emerged as a key defence trading partner of India. Discuss.

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

[pib] Exercise VARUNA-2021

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : VARUNA-21

Mains level : Paper 2- VARUNA-21

Details of the exercise

  • The 19th edition of the Indian and French Navy bilateral exercise ‘VARUNA-2021’ is scheduled to be conducted in the Arabian Sea from 25th to 27th April 2021.
  • The exercise will see high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defence and anti-submarine exercises, intense fixed and rotary wing flying operations, tactical manoeuvres, surface and anti-air weapon firings, underway replenishment and other maritime security operations.
  • Units of both navies will endeavour to enhance and hone their war-fighting skills to demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the maritime domain.
  • On completion of exercise VARUNA-21, to consolidate accrued best practices and enhance interoperability, Indian Navy’s guided-missile frigate INS Tarkash will continue to exercise with the French Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from 28th April to 1st May 2021.
  • During this period, the ship will take part in advanced surface, anti-submarine and air-defence operations with the French CSG.

Significance of exercise

  • VARUNA-21 highlights growing bonhomie and showcases increased levels of synergy, coordination and inter-operability between the two friendly navies.
  • These interactions further underscore the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

[op-ed of the day] In defence of a shared vision

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3- India-France relations

Context

Defence cooperation has been one of the fundamentals of the bilateral relationship between India and France, which developed a close and ambitious strategic partnership for over 20 years.

Defence cooperation between France and India

  • A long history of cooperation: The defence cooperation between our two countries can be traced back to the first few years following India’s Independence.
    • As early as 1953, the Indian Air Force was equipped with a hundred Toofani fighter jets from Dassault, then the Mystère IV, which defended India in tough times.
  • This marked the first page in the history of cooperation in military aviation, which also recorded the supply of 60 Mirage 2000s in the 1980s.
  • Rafale deal: The ongoing delivery of 36 Rafales is being done as per the schedule.
    • The first batch of aircraft, currently being used to train Indian pilots, will land at Air Force Station Ambala within a few months.
  • Partnership in maritime domain: Today, the partnership has been deployed in the maritime domain, in support of our joint strategic vision for the maintenance of stability and security in the Indo-Pacific.
    • As far as naval equipment is concerned, the Indian Navy has already commissioned two of the six submarines built in Mumbai as part of an industrial partnership between Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and Naval Group.

Industrial cooperation between the two countries

  • Support to indigenous production: As for industrial cooperation, the French approach has always been, whenever possible, to offer partial indigenous production in India.
    • France was largely a precursor with regard to Make in India, with HAL manufacturing the light helicopters Cheetah and Chetak, and BDL’s Milan anti-tank missile in India in the 1960s.
    • It continues this policy today. The plant built under the Dassault Aviation and Reliance joint venture will enable, for example, the complete production of the Falcon 2000 business jet here in India by 2022.
  • Transfer of technology: After the delivery of the first two Scorpene submarines, transfers of technology provided by the Naval Group enabled MDL to be solely in charge of building the next four submarines.
    • The design of these submarines has thus become largely Indian knowhow.
    • Safran will soon inaugurate an aircraft wiring systems factory in Hyderabad and also build another major facility to manufacture LEAP turbofan engine components.
    • Thales is investing massively in engineering works in Bengaluru, MBDA is building a plant in Coimbatore and French aeronautical equipment manufacturer Latécoère recently inaugurated a factory in Belgaum.

Opportunities for further cooperation

  • Developing the supply chain at all the levels: The French aerospace industries association, GIFAS, and GICAN, the French Marine Industry Group, are organising a seminar focused on this subject during DefExpo.
    • Along with the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), they are exploring opportunities for developing Indo-French industrial partnerships at all stages of the production chain.
    • Promoting Make in India: India can count on France being by its side for its Make in India enterprise.

Conclusion

India and France both share the same vision for a new balanced multipolar world, which must be based on the rule of law. They also share the same vision on the main challenges of the times, be they security developments in Asia and the Indo-Pacific, or combating international terrorism. But it is by possessing the capability of ensuring national security and making strategic choices that most efficiently defend their shared principles and visions.

 

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Subscribe
Notify of
6 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

JOIN THE COMMUNITY

Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥FREE for 24 Hours Prelims Notes
This is default text for notification bar