India and France have elevated their multi-pronged strategic partnership to a new level by signing a landmark logistics pact between their armed forces and unveiled a joint strategic vision for the Indian Ocean region, which is set to usher in a phase 2.0 in their blossoming relationship.
The wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in New Delhi on March 10 culminated in a soaring vision of next steps in India-France strategic partnership, which was reinforced by the signing of 14 pacts in critical areas such as defence, nuclear energy and infrastructure.
The signing of an agreement on reciprocal logistics support between Armed Forces of India and France, along with “Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region”, promises to be a game-changer for widening the arc of maritime partnerships to protect shared interests. The logistics pact will allow reciprocal access to respective facilities for Indian and French armed forces, which will deepen their maritime partnership against the backdrop of China’s increasing forays into the region.
“The leaders reiterated that this cooperation will be crucial in order to maintain the safety of international sea lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications in accordance with the international law, for countering maritime terrorism and piracy, for building maritime domain awareness, for capacity building and for greater coordination in regional/international fora in the region,” said the joint statement after the talks.
In their address to the media, both PM Modi and President Macron struck an upbeat note on the future trajectory of their defence and security partnership.
Mr Macron underlined that India and France have decided to work together to deal with threats of terrorism and radicalisation.
Defence cooperation between the two countries now has a new significance, he said.
Imparting a fresh momentum to their civil nuclear cooperation, the two sides concluded “the Industrial Way Forward Agreement between NPCIL and EDF for the Implementation of six nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur, Maharashtra, India.” The agreement provided a framework for starting at the Jaitapur site around the end of 2018, with a view to concluding contractual discussions between NPCIL and EDF. Once installed, the Jaitapur project will be the largest nuclear power plant in the world, with a total capacity of 9.6 GW.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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