The sun is set to shine brighter on India-France relations, with the two countries looking to scale up cooperation in solar energy and green energy during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India, starting Jan 24. After launching the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in Paris on November 30 2015 at the COP-21 summit, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Hollande will jointly lay the foundation stone of the ISA Headquarters and inaugurate the interim Secretariat of ISA at National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gurgaon on January 25. Mr Hollande has been invited as the guest of honour for India’s Republic Day celebrations, a rare honour given only to India’s close strategic partners.
India and France are expected to scale up their relations across the spectrum, including economic cooperation, defence and security cooperation. The coveted Rafale deal is likely to be sealed during the visit. Enhanced collaboration in skill development, Make in India and smart cities will be other key issues on the agenda during Modi-Hollande talks.
Green is going to be the dominant colour of India-France partnership. “France is also a green superpower. It may be recalled that France successfully concluded the COP21 negotiations in Paris. The French leadership has been extremely appreciative of the fact that India contributed meaningfully to the successful Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” said Vikas Swarup, the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry.
“Further discussions during the French President’s forthcoming visit will relate to concrete cooperation in this area between the two countries.”
The idea of an international solar alliance was first floated in 2014 following India’s announcement that it will attempt to generate 100 GW of electricity from solar energy by 2022 instead of the 20 GW it was targeting earlier. The aim was to get all the countries in the tropics to switch to solar power as much as possible. The Solar Alliance will aim to facilitate joint research and development in solar technologies and encourage the global switch to renewables. Mr Modi and Mr Hollande also released a book in Paris at COP 21 which contained a summary of statements of famous thinkers on the importance of living in harmony with nature.
The ISA will focus on sharing collective ambitions to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely. It will also work on generation and storage technologies that would be adapted by the individual countries’ to meet their needs.
The alliance would pursue tasks such as cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.
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