France/India/G20/UNSC – France/India/defence – Counter-terrorism – Cooperation against piracy
Paris, February 23, 2011
Q. – In what specific ways will France and India implement the "joint work" – as mentioned in the joint statement between President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh – with the UNSC and G20?
THE MINISTER – India’s presence on the United Nations Security Council since 1 January and the French presidency of the G20 constitute exceptionally favourable conditions, providing us with a historic opportunity to strengthen dialogue between our two countries with respect to all major international issues.
The G20 Summit will be a key event for the global economy. President Sarkozy said so: he wants a G20 that is focused on actions and results. The three main priorities of the French presidency will be: the reform of the international monetary system, combating the price volatility of commodities, and the reform of global governance. India and France can work together to provide original and effective solutions. I am thinking in particular of the regulation of food markets, and the diversification of reserve currencies.
With respect to the reform of the UN Security Council, France has for a long time now supported the candidacy of India for a permanent seat. We must now transform this support into reality. We therefore propose that the G20 should, within the framework of its reflections on global governance, be able to discuss Security Council reform.
Q. – Has an agreement been reached for Dassault to upgrade the fleet of Mirage 2000s in the Indian Air Force?
THE MINISTER – Negotiations took place throughout 2010. These have reached a level that seems to suggest that the contracts will be signed soon. The proposal to upgrade the 51 Mirage 2000s in the Indian Air Force involves a thorough overhaul of their electronic equipment. It involves upgrading the operational capabilities of the aircraft to the highest level and enabling them to conduct multi-purpose missions for a further 20 years. This project is being led by the manufacturers Thales and Dassault with regard to the upgrading of the aircraft and by the manufacturer MBDA for the supply of missiles.
Q. – What are the SRSAM and Kaveri programmes between France and India about?
THE MINISTER – These two programmes are co-development projects: a short-range surface-to-air missile for the SRSAM programme (also known as Maitri) and a fighter aircraft engine for the Kaveri programme.
In both cases this entails capitalizing on Indian and French technical expertise in order to swiftly develop together new leading-edge equipment aimed at responding as quickly as possible to the new demands of the armed forces.
Q. – The Sarkozy-Singh statement cited counter-terrorism as a “core issue” of bilateral strategic cooperation between France and India. In what ways can this cooperation be enhanced?
THE MINISTER – The priority given to the fight against terrorism stems from a simple observation: India and France are facing the same threat, whether on our national territories or against our respective presences in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Singh and President Sarkozy have agreed that our two countries should more systematically exchange and deepen their analyses on terrorist threats, movements and their modes of operation, in particular. We will also further expand our exchanges of experience and expertise in all areas of shared interest: training, equipment, investigative techniques, etc. Our cooperation in the fight against terrorism also carries over into such multilateral forums as the United Nations and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which India recently joined.
COOPERATION AGAINST PIRACY
Q. – Could you outline how joint operations between the French and Indian navies in the Indian Ocean would combat piracy?
THE MINISTER – The fight against piracy in the Gulf of Aden and beyond is a subject of special cooperation. We have identified ways to expand our collaboration: operational complementarity, joint participation in the development of regional capacities, and bringing the perpetrators of acts of piracy to justice./.
¹ Source of English text: “Times of India” website