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Doval in Paris as India and France intensify strategic partnership

Building on the regular discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron, the two countries have intensified in-depth exchanges and discussions in various areas (Image courtesy: Twitter/@NarendraModi)

France has underscored its commitment to deepening the Indo-French strategic partnership and strengthening its various aspects after the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the G20 in Rome, last week.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, held discussions with National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval in Paris on Friday, stressing his country's commitment to continued Indo-French coordination, particularly in the areas of defence, space, civil nuclear energy and security.

The meeting was held on the occasion of the annual Indo-French strategic dialogue which Doval co-chairs with Emmanuel Bonne, Diplomatic Advisor to the French President. The French delegation also included the Chief Military Advisor to Macron, Admiral Jean-Philippe Rolland. NSA Doval also met Florence Parly, France's Minister of Armed Forces.

During the strategic dialogue and the meetings, France stressed its continuing commitment to the Indo Pacific region, as a resident power, and partnership with India as a major pillar of its Indo Pacific strategy.

"He (Jean-Yves Le Drian) underscored the importance of the mutual trust between France and India, as well as that of the Indo-French partnership in working to strengthen multilateralism and defend a free and open Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law," said the French foreign ministry.

NSA Doval

NSA Doval also met French Defence Minister Florence Parly and discussed ways to expand bilateral and regional cooperation; deal with new threats; and support India’s defence industrialisation and self reliance (Image courtesy: Twitter/@IndiaembFrance)

Paris also emphasised on continuing coordination, including within the United Nations Security Council, on Afghanistan and discussed the priorities in the fight against climate change.

Modi and Macron guide India-France Strategic Partnership 

Doval and Le Drian are taking forward the wide-ranging India-France Strategic Partnership, commitment to which was reaffirmed by PM Modi and President of France, Emmanuel Macron in Rome on October 30.

The two leaders had agreed to find new and innovative ways to contribute towards a free, open and rules-based order in the region.

PM Modi had also welcomed the European Union's Indo-Pacific Strategy, released in September 2021, and thanked Macron for France's leadership role in the same. France, on the other hand, has reiterated its commitment to fully support PM Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and defence industrialisation.

According to Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, AUKUS – the new trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States – also came up "but very tangentially" in the conversation held between Modi and Macron in Rome.

Also Read: After AUKUS, will France spearhead a grand India-EU security partnership?

Miffed with the initiative, Macron had dialled Modi on September 21 as the two leaders reviewed the increasing bilateral collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region and the important role that the India-France partnership plays in promoting stability and security in the region.

Last month, French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain had said that AUKUS does not affect France’s engagement in the region and that New Delhi remains central to French efforts in the region.  

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New Delhi and Paris intensify cooperation dialogue

Building on the regular discussions between Modi and Macron, the two countries have intensified in-depth exchanges and discussions in various areas.  

While the Franco-Indian cybersecurity dialogue was held on October 13, the India-France maritime cooperation meeting in Paris on October 11 reinforced partnerships in the maritime security and safety fields, including through regular exchanges and the deepening of relations between the navies.  

External Affairs minister S Jaishankar and Le Drian had decided to work on a common program of concrete actions to jointly defend a truly multilateral international order at the United Nations General Assembly in New York before that.

India is now looking forward to French presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2022 as an opportunity to give further shape to EU's engagement in the Indo Pacific region, including in security, connectivity, sustainability and economic development.

Building on the successful India-France initiative on International Solar Alliance, the two sides also stressed the need to accelerate cooperation in clean energy, including civil nuclear energy and green hydrogen.

Also Read: Looking beyond Covid-19, PM Modi and Macron solidify Indo-French partnership