The External Affairs Minister of the Republic of India, Shri S.M. Krishna and the Senior Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of the French Republic M. Alain Juppé met in New Delhi on 20 October 2011 and reviewed the progress on the implementation of the Joint Declaration on bilateral, regional and international issues of common interest and importance “India-France: Partnership for the Future” adopted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Nicolas Sarkozy on 6 December 2010.
Reaffirming that the India-France Strategic Partnership has been steadily strengthening and widening in scope, they agreed on a roadmap for its further development.
Trade and economic cooperation
The two ministers recalled the target set in December 2010 of increasing bilateral trade to 12 billion by 2012 and reiterated their commitment to achieving it. They also welcomed the increase in foreign direct investment flows in both directions and agreed to address the genuine concerns of investors.
India and France have identified energy efficiency, renewable energy, preservation of biodiversity, urban services and infrastructure as promising fields of cooperation. To that end, Agence Française de Développement financing could be of relevance.
Minister Krishna and Minister Juppé welcomed the successful launch of Megha-Tropiques satellite, a joint contribution to the global scientific community engaged in research on climate and weather systems. The forthcoming launch of SARAL, a joint satellite to study sea surface altitude, would be another milestone in space cooperation. India and France encouraged Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the French National Space Agency (CNES) to pursue further cooperation in Earth System Science and Climate within the framework of the MoU signed in December 2010 and to explore new fields of cooperation in the future.
India and France reaffirmed their continued interest in enhancing bilateral cooperation in defence. They welcomed the success of the first joint exercise between the two armies (Shakti, ongoing in October 2011), as also the exercises between their navies (Varuna in January 2011) and air forces (Garuda in 2010).
The two countries welcomed the finalization of the project for modernization of Indian Air Force’s Mirage 2000 aircraft and noted ongoing efforts to finalize joint defence research and development programmes, namely the SRSAM and Kaveri programmes. They reiterated their desire to cooperate in other high-technology programmes and projects in the defence sector in the future.
Both countries reaffirmed their interest in intensifying their cooperation in combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia and other areas.
Civil nuclear cooperation
India and France agreed to an early entry into force of the agreement on intellectual property rights on the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. They recognized the importance of the highest levels of safety for nuclear power plants. They agreed to strengthen the cooperation between the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of India and the Autorité de Sureté Nucléaire of France, and their technical support organizations. They welcomed the progress in the discussions between AREVA and NPCIL, aiming at finalizing the contract on the construction of two EPR reactors at Jaitapur and look forward to its early implementation. Following India’s enactment of civil nuclear liability legislation, both countries stand ready to further exchange views on this issue so as to ensure the appropriate framework for the sound development of their cooperation. They look forward to the conclusion of an agreement between ALSTOM, NPCIL and BHEL for supplying the Indian nuclear power programme with the most recent technology for manufacturing turbo-generators
Education, science and technology
The two ministers agreed that both governments will work together to encourage an increase in the flow of students and researchers in both directions. India and France will increase the number and academic level of exchange students. They share a long-term ambition for bilateral cooperation at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Rajasthan. France will finance scholarships for Indian students at the PhD level, depute professors to IIT Rajasthan and substantially contribute to the establishment of Joint Centres of Excellence/research laboratories in the next five years. India welcomes this bilateral cooperation project in the higher-education sector.
The two ministers applauded the success of the cultural festivals “Bonjour India” and “Namaste France”. They committed to bolstering exchanges in the fields of culture and heritage. They took note of the success of the International seminar on “Traditions of cultural liberalism in India and France” organized in Paris in June 2011. They welcomed the future opening of an Indian cultural centre in Paris and looked forward to the upcoming Tagore exhibition in Paris.
Migration and consular issues
India and France welcomed the recent negotiations for a Human Resource Mobility Partnership Agreement where progress was made on the essential aspects. They underlined the positive impact that this agreement will have on a global approach to comprehensive migration, based on the intensification of business opportunities, exchanges of students, researchers and young professionals and better tackling of irregular migration. They agreed to continue this discussion and resolved to conclude the agreement as early as possible. They also agreed to reinforce the dialogue on consular issues.
Regional and global challenges
India and France reaffirmed their solidarity with Afghanistan. They welcomed the will of the international community to remain committed after the 2014 transition, through bilateral and multilateral fora.
Looking ahead to the Istanbul Conference of 2 November, they welcomed the commitment of the region to work for a stable, peaceful, democratic and independent Afghanistan, achieved through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. They called for the continued engagement of the international community and increased cooperation in the region to work towards a terror-free Afghanistan. This would be in the interest of Afghanistan, the region and the international community at large.
The two countries support the efforts of the National Transitional Council representing the Libyan people as a whole, to establish democratic institutions in a free Libya, to promote human rights, and to rebuild their country after the sufferings they have endured.
Minister Krishna and Minister Juppé exchanged views on issues related to the Middle East including the peace process and the situation in Syria and agreed to continue the dialogue at all levels.
Minister Krishna and Minister Juppé reiterated their willingness to participate in the strengthening of the relationship between the European Union and India. They called for a successful India-EU summit in February 2012. They agreed that India and the EU should continue to work for the early conclusion of the negotiations for a mutually beneficial and balanced Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), which will lead to substantial increase in bilateral trade and investment flows
India and France have endeavoured to jointly fight international terrorism, a common threat. They reiterated their view that terrorism cannot be justified on any grounds or attributed to any root causes. They noted that the bilateral Joint Working Group on Counterterrorism had met in Paris in June 2011. The two sides agreed to further expand information exchange and enhance counterterrorism cooperation in areas of mutual concern. They resolved to continue their efforts for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the UN.
The two ministers reaffirmed the role of the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation. India fully supports the priorities put on the G20 agenda by the French presidency. India and France reiterated their commitment to working together in the G20, especially on global issues notably, addressing the financial crisis, development including infrastructure and food security, social dimension, fight against corruption, innovative financing, commodity price volatility, reform of the international financial institutions and financial regulatory reforms. They are committed to make the G20 summit in Cannes a success, and support the adoption of an ambitious action plan for growth.
France reaffirmed its support for India’s accession as a permanent member of an enlarged UN Security Council. India and France are committed to reinforce their consultations at the UN on issues pertaining to international peace and stability.
The two countries will intensify their cooperation on non-proliferation challenges, and will continue to work towards India’s full membership to the four export control regimes.
The two ministers stressed their resolve to address the challenges posed by climate change, firmly based on the principles and provisions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in particular the principle of Equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together for an equitable, balanced and comprehensive outcome to the upcoming 17th Conference of the Parties at Durban, South Africa./.
¹ Source of English text: Indian Ministry of External Affairs.