Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

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


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3- India-France relations


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.


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.



Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

[pib] Exercise Shakti-2019PIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise SHAKTI

Mains level : India-France strategic relations

  • As part of Exercise SHAKTI – 2019,  French Army troops have arrived in India.

Exercise SHAKTI

  • Series of  ‘Exercise SHAKTI’ between India and France commenced in year 2011.
  • Its a biennial exercise and is conducted alternately in India and France.
  • The exercise will focus on Counter Terrorism operations in backdrop of semi-desert terrain under United Nations Mandate.
  • The training will focus primarily on high degree of physical fitness, sharing of the drill at tactical level and learning of best practices from each other.
  • The exercise aims at enhancing understanding, cooperation and interoperability between the two Armies.
  • The exercise will culminate in a 36 hrs long validation exercise which will involve neutralization of terrorists in a village hideout.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

[pib] Exercise Varuna 19.1PIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the Exercise

Mains level : Not Much

  • The first part of the Indo-French joint naval exercise, Varuna 19.1 is being held off the Goa coast.

Exercise Varuna 19.1

  • The bilateral naval exercise initiated in 1983 and christened as ‘Varuna’ in 2001, form a vital part of the Indo-French strategic partnership.
  • Having grown in scope and complexity over the years, this exercise exemplifies the strong relations between the two nations, in line with the Joint Strategic Vision of India-French Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • The Varuna exercise aims at developing interoperability between the two navies and fostering mutual cooperation by learning from each other’s best practices to conduct joint operations.
  • The exercise underscores the shared interests and commitment of both nations in promoting maritime security.
  • The second part, Varuna 19.2, is scheduled to be held at the end of May in Djibouti.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

[op-ed snap] Reshaping Indo-Pacificop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Solar Alliance, NATO, blue economy

Mains level: India France strategic partnership


 India’s strategic partnership with France

  1. The expansive prospect for India’s strategic partnership with France underlines the growing importance of middle power coalitions
  2. These coalitions transcend the traditional alliance frameworks and new geopolitical fault lines

Breaking down the old stereotypes

  1. Amidst America’s uncertain external orientation and China’s effort to reshape the global order, second-tier powers like India and France seek a greater say in world affairs through more intensive collaboration
  2. In that process, they are breaking down the old stereotypes of East versus West and North versus South
  3. In taking the lead on mitigating climate change, through the International Solar Alliance, India and France are demonstrating their potential for shared global leadership
  4. France, a long-standing military ally of the United States, is also looking beyond NATO to forge security partnerships with Asian democracies like India

Delhi’s quest for a larger role in the world

  1. It can’t be founded in exclusive security partnerships with either Russia or America
  2. Nor does India want to cede Asia and the world to the rigidity of a new bipolar framework between the US and China

Indo-Pacific as the new arena for cooperation

  1. Although India’s strategic partnership with France is the oldest and dates back to the late 1990s, it lacked a regional anchor
  2. With their long-standing national advantages in the Indo-Pacific threatened by the global power shift, they have chosen to band together
  3. Delhi and Paris have agreed on greater political coordination in the region, mutual logistical support and seamless interoperability between their security forces

Shared maritime vision

  1. It seeks to uphold the law of the sea in the Indian Ocean
  2. Prevent the kind of military unilateralism that has come to grip the Western Pacific
  3. Secure the sea lines of communication
  4. Respond to humanitarian disasters and
  5. Promote sustainable blue economy

Way forward

  1. French president’s unbridled enthusiasm for India connects with his effort to rejuvenate France and revitalize Europe
  2. It is upto Delhi to make the best of this moment
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

India, France join hands for Indian Ocean security


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Quadrilateral discussion

Mains level: Security concerns in IOR

New logistical agreement

  1. India and France have joined hands in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region
  2. Both sides also announced a new phase of cooperation in space security focussed on the maritime domain
  3. They also signed a fresh logistics agreement that will allow their defense forces to closely cooperate on mutually agreed operations

‘The Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region’

  1. India and France share common concerns on freedom of navigation in the region and will tackle challenges to over-flight and threat of weapons of mass destruction
  2. The agreement has a vast scope stretching from “countering maritime terrorism and piracy” to “building maritime domain awareness”
  3. This is the second major maritime arrangement that India has taken up in the last six months following the Quadrilateral discussion with Australia, Japan, and the US in October 2017
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

Indo-French Joint Committee on Science & Technology Cooperation

  1. News: India and France have signed the arrangement for establishment of apex level Joint Committee in New Delhi
  2. Context: Joint Committee would identify, synergise and define priorities for Indo-French cooperation in science, technology and innovation
  3. Aim: To achieve economic and social development through research, development and innovation
  4. Co-chaired by: Minister of S&T of India and for French side by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development
  5. Why? Enhanced scientific and technological cooperation between the 2 countries, and the role played by multiple national S&T agencies of both countries in promoting partnership
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

Indo-French: Can they clear the test of Trade?op-ed snap

Strategic partnership has gone from strength to strength. Now, it’s time to clear test of bilateral trade as well.

  1. Strategic ties have been given further boost by the agreement on intelligence-sharing and cooperation on investigations and judicial processes.
  2. India-France trade hovers around $8 billion, which amounts to half of India’s trade with the U.K. or Germany.
  3. A big reason for is the impasse in India’s economic relations with the European Union.
  4. Modi’s expected visit to Brussels for the EU summit in the next few weeks could clear the path here.
  5. Joint ventures and partnerships on infrastructure such as railways, smart cities and renewable energy projects were announced during the visit.
  6. But much more needs to come from Indian businesses engaging with France.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

Indo-French Ties: Soaring New Heightsop-ed snap

Partnership has now been comprehensively extended to counter-terrorism and a separate joint statement was issued on it.

  1. For decades, France has been India’s most consistent backer and partner .
  2. It supported  India’s nuclear programme, helped mitigate the effects of post-Pokhran 2 sanctions as well as negotiated the civil nuclear deal with the US.
  3. The focus of Hollande’s visit was on strategic partnership, defence and counter terrorism.
  4. They renewed bilateral Agreement on Defence Cooperation for another 10 years and France commited to help India’s accession to multilateral export control regimes.
  5. For the first time, the two countries named Pakistan-based India-specific terror groups.
  6. Inaugurated  International Solar Alliance’s headquarters in Gurgaon.
  7. It is also hoped that the implementation of the Jaitapur nuclear power project will begin in 2017.
  8. Laid emphasis on people-to-people contacts, with France granting an extended stay of two years to Indian students at the masters level and above.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

France commits €300 million for solar energy

  1. French President Francois Hollande committed €300 million over the next 5 years for the global development of solar energy.
  2. He said that the real challenge was to attract investments worth a trillion dollars to promote the renewable source.
  3. Mr. Hollande said that the Alliance would focus on three broad areas.
    • Pooling together the requests of countries with a huge potential in order to reduce their cost of capital.
    • Opening the markets in order to reduce the cost of investment.
    • Transferring the necessary technology and know-how from developed to developing countries.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

India, France set to expand space partnership

  1. At least three of the 14 agreements signed by India and France were on expanding space collaboration.
  2. The ISRO and its French counterpart CNES (National Centre for Space Studies) agreed to work together in the next Mars mission, as well as a satellite launch and a thermal infrared observation mission.
  3. Both sides also signed an agreement on upgrading the Delhi-Chandigarh line to 200 kmph.
  4. The other agreements on nuclear issue, counterterror, defence show a positive continuum of the past work.
  5. France also committed itself to supporting India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC and accession to the multilateral (nuclear) export control regimes.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

‘French cos may invest $10 bn in India over next 5 years’

France taking active part to boost Make in India and Skill India initiatives.

  1. French companies are likely to invest almost $10 billion in India in the next 5 years and a major portion of this will be in the industrial sector making.
  2. French firms had invested more than one billion dollars annually in the last 5 years.
  3. The country’s companies account for 10 per cent of solar capacity installed in India and they could increase their capacities by 2020-22.
  4. There were over 400 French firms in India with a consolidated turnover of about $20 billion and France was the third largest foreign investor in India.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

French President to be Chief Guest at R-Day parade

  1. As India celebrates its 67th Republic Day, tight security and vigil is being maintained across the country as a precaution.
  2. French President Francois Hollande will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade.
  3. Representatives of the Indian States will take part in the parade to showcase the strengths of the state.
  4. The visit of Mr. Hollande to New Delhi for the mega pageant.
  5. He is expected to send a message of a worldwide solidarity among the democratic countries against terrorism of the IS which staged the November 13 attacks in Paris.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

Raja-Mandala: France, A most exceptional friendop-ed snap

France has emerged, steadily since the 1990s, as India’s most trusted international partner.

  1. The participation of French troops in the Republic Day parade is significant as it marks the end of India’s prolonged military isolationism.
  2. Modi recognises the potential of military partnerships in modernising India’s defence-industrial base.
  3. And enhancing India’s strategic weight in the international system.
  4. Resuscitating India’s defence diplomacy and global security engagement has been at the centre of his foreign policy.
  5. Modi sees a special role for Paris in Delhi’s global calculus for three important reasons.
  6. One, France in contrast to US, Britain, Russia has made a clear choice in favour of India over dalliance with pak military.
  7. Two, France can be a privileged partner for India in strengthening peace and security in the maritime domain.
  8. Third, while India’s quest for multi-polarity remains, exchanging American global primacy for Chinese domination makes little sense for Delhi.
  9. As a leading Western power with shared political values, France is a more credible partner for India in constructing a more equitable world order through a new concert of global powers.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-France

Modi, Hollande set the stage for counter-terror cooperation

They resolve to enhance strategic ties between India and France.

  1. Both leaders will hold bilateral talks, during which they are likely to discuss upgrading the “special and strategic partnership” signed in 1998.
  2. Hollande, Modi to take up defence, space and nuclear cooperation.
  3. These include the completion of the agreement for the purchase of Rafale aircraft and nuclear issues over current Jaitapur plant.
  4. Both sides are likely to announce a new phase of space cooperation between the space agencies ISRO and CNES, with a special satellite dedicated to climate change research.

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