India-France : Overview

Recent Deals :

  • Intergovernmental agreement for the purchase of Rafale fighter jets, nuclear reactors, French railway locomotives
  • A major commitment to counterterror cooperation.
  • French industrial major Alstom to make 800 high horse power locomotives in India. The locomotives are expected to be made in the electric locomotives factory in Madhepura, Bihar.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation and its French counterpart CNES (National Centre for Space Studies) agreed to work together in the next Mars mission, as well as a satellite launch and a thermal infrared observation mission
Background :
Indo-French partnership goes a long way back. The following are some instances, which make this bilateral relationship a special one:
  1. France was one of the first nations to help India diversify her defense sector. Even today, France is at the forefront of helping India build a blue navy. Case in point, the Scorpene class submarines;
  2. France was the only western country to support India’s defense, space and nuclear programmes when it was alienated internationally in 1970s for carrying out nuclear tests.
  3. France actively lobbied within the UNSC for dilution of sanctions which were imposed on  following the 1998 nuclear tests.
  4. Internationally, the two countries have collaborated diplomatically on a variety of issues. E.g. India voted in favor of the UN resolution calling for French intervention in Mali.
The vast potential of the mutually beneficial Indo-French relations can be gauged from the following instances of tentative cooperation between the two:
  1. Nuclear cooperation – both civil and military.  (Jaitapur Power Plant)
  2. Develop defense sector ecosystem in India by investing in skills and capacity building.
  3. Regional cooperation especially in the Indian Ocean, West Asia and North Africa where both have geostrategic interests.
  4. Climate change.
  5. French companies considered to be world leaders in smart cities (SCs) technology are assisting the Indian Government crystallize the Smart Cities Initiative. E.g. development of Pondicherry and Chandigarh as SCs.
  6. India-France trade hovers around $8 billion, which amounts to half of India’s trade with the U.K. or Germany (27/01/2016)



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