The strength and trust in the India-FRANCE bilateral was evident during the May 4th visit of Prime Minister Modi to Paris. Beyond the difficult discussions on multilateral issues, the partnership has been deepened in several key areas of cooperation, from defence to education, climate, energy, digitalisation and technical collaboration. Energy and digitalisation are two particularly bright spots for future collaboration.
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India and France have long been reliable partners, and friends in need. The fifth meeting between the leaders of the two countries highlights the focus on strengthening cooperation in 21st century issues. The India-France Track 1.5 Dialogue, hosted by Gateway House, Mumbai and Ifri, Paris, explored the potential of cooperation in digitalisation and energy transition
India has done considerable groundwork to turn into a blue economy nation through its maritime policies and active support of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. The time is right for the country to now focus on blue diplomacy, with an emphasis on maritime security and sustainable, equitable harnessing of maritime resources.
The EU has been working on an India engagement for two decades now – a strategic partnership and a free trade engagement. It is finally being realised – the outcome of the visit of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Delhi this month. The upgraded, ambitious partnership Europe’s long overdue pivot to India.
The Sino-U.S. contestation is a central tenet of the Indo-Pacific. In this power tussle, the EU strategy for the region provides a new way to engage with partners in the "Third Space" for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
The unprecedented consensus within the EU in accepting Ukrainian refugees presents it as a global humanitarian power. But is this truly a ‘paradigm shift’ or is it a continuation of the West European Cold War strategy, based on a moral high ground narrative, of accepting people who had fled the ‘evil and undemocratic’ Soviet-bloc countries during and after World War II?
On 16 March 2022, Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, delivered the keynote address at the first roundtable of the India-France Track 1.5 Dialogue, co-hosted by Gateway House and Ifri. He traced the achievements of the bilateral, particularly in the areas of digital cooperation and energy transitions. He highlighted the "infinite possibilities" for the India-France partnership given their unique positions in the Indo-Pacific.
India and France have been actively working together to solve various sustainability issues from renewable energy generation to the blue economy and biodiversity conservation. There is so much more to do bilaterally with climate finance and urban sustainability, and multilaterally with the G20. All the ingredients are in place for a robust climate partnership.
India and France have common interests bilaterally and multilaterally, and these are increasingly forging together. India must now step up its commitments to trade, technology and defence, all areas where France has an expertise and can make a greater contribution as India’s old allies like Russia become vulnerable.
The Quad Foreign Ministers' meeting held on February 11 is the latest example of growing geopolitical cooperation. Several loci of power have emerged, indicating the end of the post-Cold War western hegemony. China's rise and alliance with Russia hints at a bipolar tendency in this nascent global multipolarity. India must ensure power distribution in Asia by sharpening its diplomacy to achieve its own interest - true multipolarity in Asia.