PARIS/NEW DELHI: Unveiling a new ambition for their strategic partnership, India and France have signed a pact on setting up of a “joint maritime domain awareness mission” in the Indo-Pacific region and agreed to intensify their counter-terror cooperation.
The two strategic partners also unveiled a roadmap on cyber security and digital technology and signed pacts in areas of skill development, solar energy and quantum computing.
The pacts were signed after full-spectrum talks between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron at the iconic Chateau de Chantilly, located around 50 km away from the capital Paris.
The talks reaffirmed and consolidated India-France strategic partnership, with the joint statement describing bilateral relations as “enduring, trustworthy, like-minded, and all-encompassing.”
“India-France relations are marked by mutual trust between two strategic partners who have always stood by each other. This relationship developed into a structured partnership, both at bilateral level as well as in international bodies,” said the statement.
Deepening of maritime cooperation is one of the major takeaways from the latest Modi-Macron talks. “Based on a shared commitment to maintaining the freedom of navigation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific zone, maritime security cooperation between France and India is a domain of excellence in their strategic partnership,” said the joint statement.
Combating cross-border terror
The two countries also decided to intensify their counter-terror cooperation, with Paris rallying to India’s support against cross-border terrorism. “The two leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border terrorism and terror-related incidents in France and India,” said the statement.
“Both leaders reaffirmed that terrorism cannot be justified on any grounds whatsoever and it should not be associated with any religion, creed, nationality and ethnicity.”
“Both our countries have to constantly face terrorism and radicalization. We have received valuable French support and cooperation in combating cross-border terrorism. We thank President Macron for this,” said PM Modi at a joint press statement with the French president.
“We have intended to broaden cooperation on security and counter-terrorism. We have also decided to further strengthen our growing cooperation in maritime and cyber security,” said Mr Modi.
“The August 22 talks in Paris have imparted a new ballast and ambition to the India-France partnership by opening it to new areas of cooperation, as the joint statement described it aptly,” said Mr Manish Chand, foreign affairs analyst and Editor-in-Chief, India and World magazine.
“The sky is the limit for India-France relations. Artificial intelligence, maritime security, digital and cyber technologies and multi-layered collaboration in international area are going to power the India-France partnership in areas to come,” said Mr Chand, also Founder-Editor, India Writes Network.
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