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Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region (New Delhi, 10 March 2018)

March 10, 2018

  • As the leaders of two strong democracies with vital interests in the Indian Ocean Region, President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi recognize the crucial role that the multi-dimensional India-France strategic partnership will play in ensuring peace, security and stability in, and in bringing robust economic growth and prosperity to the Region.
  • India occupies a central position in the Indo-Pacific, given its coastline of 7,500 kms, more than 1380 islands and two million sq. km of Exclusive Economic Zone. It plays a pivotal role for the peace, security and prosperity of the region. France, a State of the Indian Ocean rim, is an important player in this region. This is borne out by its overseas territories, where 1.6 million of its citizens reside, and its exclusive economic zone, spanning 9.1 million sq. km in the Indo-Pacific.
  • France and India have shared concerns with regard to the emerging challenges in the Indian Ocean Region that include: maritime traffic security in the face of the threats of terrorism and piracy, especially in the Horn of Africa; respect of international law by all States, in particular freedom of navigation and overflight; fight against organized crime, trafficking, including in weapons of mass destruction, smuggling and illegal fishing (IUUs); combating climate change and its consequences on security, particularly in terms of natural disasters; protection of the environment and natural resources, including tackling oil spills; and aid to victims of disasters.
  • To harness the opportunities and to meet the challenges together, the two leaders have agreed on an action oriented Joint Strategic Vision for Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region.

    Bilateral and International Coordination

  • President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed satisfaction at the working of the bilateral Maritime Dialogue instituted in 2015. They also welcomed the signing of the Agreement regarding the Provision of Reciprocal Logistics Support that will help enhance cooperation between their armed forces, including the two Navies.
  • The two leaders are desirous of associating other strategic partners in the growing cooperation between India and France, as and when required and, in this regard, would establish trilateral dialogues.
  • They also agreed on the need to establish an open, inclusive and transparent cooperation architecture, with the aim of delivering to all associated with the region, peace, security and prosperity.
  • They have decided that both countries will strengthen the coordination in existing international/regional bodies to carry out this objective. India welcomes the prospect of France's enhanced participation at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (lORA). France congratulates India on its leadership at lORA and the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). France also supports India's entry in the Indian Ocean Commission (lOC) as an Observer, and encourages its growing involvement in European Union projects for the Indian Ocean. They recall the necessity of the international community fully gauging the consequences of compromised maritime security and adopting effective solutions, such as the adaptation of antipiracy measures in the Horn of Africa
  • The two leaders recalled the close relations uniting India and the French department of Reunion Island, the fruit of a long-standing common history. They desire to develop them in economy, tourism, research, innovation, education, culture, defence and security.

    Naval Exercises

  • The two leaders recalled the importance of the Varuna bilateral exercise initiated in 1983 between the Navies of the two countries and agreed to deepen it further to enhance interoperability between the two navies. Its next edition, to be held in 2018 in the Indian Ocean, will focus on submarine and anti-submarine warfare as well as combating maritime terrorism.
  • Beyond the Varuna exercise, France and India commit to utilizing every opportunity of their naval ships calling at each other's ports for holding passage exercises (PASSEX).
  • In order to widen and deepen strategic naval cooperation, India and France will be open to inviting strategic partner countries in the region to participate in Indo-French exercises.

    Maritime Domain Awareness

  • France and India are determined to increase exchange of information 011 the maritime situation in the Indian Ocean. President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed their deep satisfaction with the swift implementation and operationalization of the bilateral White Shipping Agreement signed in January 2017. They are determined to pursue their discussions in this area.
  • The leaders welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Centre national d'etudes spatiales (CNES- National Centre for Space Studies) of France aimed at co-developing a maritime surveillance satellite system focused on the Indian Ocean and related data fusion mechanisms. This system would significantly strengthen maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • They also welcomed the establishment of cooperation in hydrography and marine cartography.

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