Analysis Of Sansad TV Discussion
”GS 2: Bilateral Relations, Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests”
- Recently, PM Modi visited France during his 3 European nations’ tour.
- This was his 4th visit to France since 2015.
- PM Modi’s Paris visit is all about adding more strategic blocks to a deep relationship.
How France is India’s trusted multidimensional partner?
- For India, France has been a reliable partner since decades.
- It was the only western nation not to condemn India’s nuclear tests in the 90s.
- It was one of the first countries to support India’s candidacy at the UN for the permanent seat at the Security Council.
- Of late France supported India’s stand on Kashmir, while it backed the UNSC resolution sanctioning Pakistani terrorist Masood Azhar as well as stronger FATF sanctions against Pakistan.
- More recently both nations have extended their common interests in the Indo-Pacific with France identifying India as one its core Indo-Pacific partners and major players in the region.
Key areas of India-FranceRelations
Defence and security cooperation
- The areas of defence and security cooperation, space cooperation and civil nuclear cooperation constitute the principal pillars of the strategic partnership of both countries.
- Over the years India’s defence cooperation with France has increased with the latter becoming India’s 2nd largest arms supplier (after Russia).
- India and France are increasingly engaged in new areas of cooperation such as maritime security in the Indo Pacific region, counter terrorism, climate change, renewable energy and sustainable growth and development among others.
- Both share a close degree of convergence on a range of regional and global issues also.
- Recently held 20th edition of ‘Varuna’ – a five-day naval wargame exercise between the two countries in the Arabian Sea is a reflection of growing congruence in their maritime security cooperation.
UNSC membership Issue
- France has continued to support India’s claim for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and the reforms of the United Nations.
- France’s support was vital in India’s accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and Australia Group (AG).
- France continues to support India’s bid for accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
- India and France have consistently condemned terrorism and have resolved to work together for the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN.
French businesses in India
- The two countries have a burgeoning economic relationship with French businesses and industry contributing significantly to India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign.
- There are over a 1000 French businesses in India in variegated sectors like defense, IT corridors, ITES, consulting, engineering services, heavy industry, smart-cities, railways, capital and trade exchanges, skill development etc.
- France is the 11th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative FDI stock of USD 9.83 billion from April 2000 to March 2021, which represents 2 % of the total FDI inflows into India.
- There are more than 150 Indian companies operating in France including sub-subsidiaries, employing more than 7 7,000 persons.
Many Established French companies present in India
- Almost all the major French companies are present in India including Renault, Saint Gobain, Veolia, Michelin, Capgemini, Sanofi, EDF, Airbus, Lactalis, Sodexho, Total and others.
- India’s Reliance, Tata, Mahindra, L&T and other big companies have tied up joint cooperation with major French companies like Dassault, SAFRAN, Thales, Scneider Electric and others in the defence and electronics sector.
- French infrastructure companies are looking forward to major opportunities in Indian projects including in smart cities and renewable energy.
France is a Key Partner in Many Developmental Projects
- France has been actively cooperating with various Indian programmes, especially three Smart Cities, viz. Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry.
- SNCF- the French railways and the 8 Indian Railways have established a Permanent Indo-French Railway Forum.
- They have been cooperating in the studies for the feasibility of semi-high speed upgrade of the Delhi-Chandigarh section and station development study of Ambala and Ludhiana.
- The Indian diaspora in France is estimated to be around 5,00,000 with majority being French citizens based in the French overseas territories.
- So, there also exist vibrant bilateral cultural and educational linkages as also growing people-to-people contacts.
- Indian diaspora also has a sizeable presence in metropolitan France and its overseas departments/territories.
- Around 109,000 Indian citizens reside in mainland France, with a majority originating from former French colonies of Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe and Chandernagore.
- A sizeable number of Indian origin population lives in the French Overseas Territories of the Reunion Island (300,000), Guadeloupe (60,000) and Maritinique (6,000).
- There has also been an increasing number of students (nearly 10,000) and professionals studying and working in mainland France.
Areas which require more focus?
To boost the ‘Make in India’ policy
- With France, India is looking towards manufacturing and export of emerging and critical defence technologies without any license regime or any legal encumbrances.
- Under the ‘Make in India’ policy of PM Modi, India is looking towards France to make Safran aircraft engines and make air-independent propulsion submarines to utilize the already existing manufacturing line at the Naval Dockyards in Mumbai.
- With France making India the lead partner in its Indo-Pacific policy, the two countries plan to share technologies for better maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific particularly the Indian Ocean.
- France’s GDP is almost similar to that of India’s, but bilateral trade remains far below potential, even though India has enjoyed a consistent trade surplus.
- Trade with France constitutes only 1.41% of India’s total international trade.
- In the period April 2020-March 2021, India-France bilateral trade stood at USD 7.86 billion. India’s exports to France were valued at USD 5.6 billion, down by 22.9%.
- Meanwhile, French exports to India decreased by 20.95% during the same period to USD 5.1 billion.