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External Affairs Minister's Press Statement of today's meeting with French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (unofficial translation)

November 17, 2017

Your Excellency,
Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs
Distinguished members of the French delegation,
Friends from media,

My delegation level talks with Foreign Affairs Minister of France has just concluded In our discussions today, we have reviewed the full range of India-France bilateral relations and had in-depth exchange of views on regional, global and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

India attaches high value to her strategic partnership with France. We share many convergences – and we both value each other as natural partners in preserving a multipolar rule-based international order, upholding norms and principles and working together for global peace and stability, inclusive growth and sustainable development in all parts of the world.

Friends, defence cooperation, space cooperation and civil nuclear cooperation constitute the three principal pillars of our Strategic Partnership.

India-France defence cooperation has been growing very strong encompassing institutional interactions, joint military exercises, acquisition, training, and R&D. We also agreed on the need to deepen our technology and manufacturing partnership, as well as strengthen India-France military logistics coordination.

Since beginning France has been a partner of India in our space programme. Together we have completed many projects and achieved many missions. Today we explored the possibility of giving a bold vision to our future space cooperation.

The civil nuclear cooperation is an important pillar of our bilateral engagement. Both sides discussed concrete ways to expeditiously implement the Jaitapur project.

In the maritime security domain, both sides discussed enhanced cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, where both India and France have a crucial presence. The cooperation, which could include other willing strategic partners, is aimed at ensuring the safety of international sea-lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications, countering maritime terrorism and piracy, building maritime domain awareness, capacity building and greater coordination in regional / international fora in the Indian ocean region.

Friends you are aware that France has continued to support India’s claim for permanent membership of the Security Council. France has also provided consistent support to India’s candidature for the membership of Multilateral Export Control regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassennar Arrangement and the Australia Group. France’s support was vital in India’s accession to MTCR in June 2016.

We agreed to deepen our security cooperation, bilaterally and in the multilateral fora, and strengthen our strong commitment in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Expressing deep concern over the increasing terrorism in the world, we decided that the two countries have to come together and resolve to remove this evil and we have made an appeal to all the countries of the world that they should collectively protest against all nations who provide sanctuary to terrorism, finance terrorism, and support terrorism.

India and France have consistently condemned terrorism and have resolved to work together to on adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN.

India which values her multi-faceted partnership with France also includes our economic cooperation. Our bilateral trade turnover of US$ 10.95 billion dollars suggests that there is tremendous scope for trade growth. Almost 1000 French companies are present in India with a total turnover of US$ 20 billion and employing 300,000 people. The respective strengths of our economies provide us ample opportunities to strengthen our commercial cooperation. We welcome the role played by French companies in the smart city, clean energy, transportation, and infrastructure sectors.

Both sides agreed that addressing climate change and promoting secure, affordable and sustainable supplies of energy are our key shared priorities. Both sides also reaffirmed their commitment to making the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), next year, a grand success.

Issues like Migration and Mobility are one of the important pillars of our comprehensive multi -faceted relationship. Given the complementarities between our two sides, we stand to mutually benefit by advancing our partnership in this field. Both sides discussed the need for a comprehensive approach that advances legal channels for economic migration and mobility and strengthen people-to-people contacts.

We welcome the launch of the Bonjour India Festival, which will be kicked off tomorrow. The four-month festival spanning November 2017 to February 2018 will be organized across the length and breadth of India. From Kolkata to Ahmedabad, and from Kochi to Lucknow. Indo-French co-productions will bring out their creative potential in partnership with India’s major fairs and festivals.

Friends, we are eagerly waiting to welcome President Macron to India early next year With these words, Your Excellency, I thank you for your leadership and your contribution to the strengthening of India-France strategic partnership.

Your Excellency, I offer my best wishes for your success and for the continued progress and prosperity of the people of France.


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