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.
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
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.
The Anglo-French commercial treaty of 1860 opened trade between France and Bombay, and brought two iconic French companies – a shipping line and the city’s first European bank. Bombay’s affluent residents were already familiar with French fashion, luxury goods, wines and liqueurs.
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.
Three hundred years ago, the Anglo-French rivalry in Europe spilled over to India, and threatened the dissolution of the powerful Bombay Presidency. Three centuries later, India and France are in a different place, with economic ties blossoming and the bilateral upgrading in 1998 into a strategic relationship. The speed with which this has scaled up reflects the deep familiarity between the two nations rooted in colonial history.
On 8 October 2021, the 29th France-Africa summit was held in Montpellier, France. This unique summit focused on youth and civil society engagement, led from the front by French President Emmanuel Macron, in an open and honest dialogue. However, the success of this new outreach will be measured by how France fulfils the promises made at the summit.
India and France have converging interests in the Indo-Pacific – diplomatic, strategic and economic. The 4th Indo-French Maritime Security Dialogue held in New Delhi in December 2019 was an example of major bilateral cooperation. By working together, the two countries became the model for fostering a rules-based, free, open and inclusive region.
The India-France roadmap on cyber security and digital technology paves a detailed path for the two countries to cooperate in three areas where France is an acknowledged leader and can help India become cyber-resilient