[Answered] Strategic convergence between India and France runs deep. Discuss and also highlight the areas in which India and France can cooperate to strengthen their relationship further.

Introduction: contexual introduction
Body: Write some points related to strategic copoperation and mention other areas for further cooperation.
Conclusion: Give a way forward.

India has signed “Strategic Partnership” agreements with France in 1998. There has been a significant progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation through regular high-level exchanges. The growing cooperation includes strategic areas such as defence, counter-terrorism, nuclear energy and space. It is based on the fundamental conviction of both countries in a multipolar world and in the concept of strategic autonomy.

Strategic convergence between India and France:

  • Defence Cooperation: In the joint naval exercise Varuna and Franco-Indian joint patrolling in the Indian Ocean, making military engines in India for combat aircraft, submarine manufacturing etc.
  • Space: The two countries have concluded a Joint Vision for Space Cooperation in 2018 and also signed an agreement for the cooperation on Gaganyaan Mission.
  • Role in Indo-Pacific: Visualising the changing geopolitics with focus shifting from Euro-Atlantic to Asia-Pacific, France decided on India as its preferred partner in the Indian Ocean and a Joint Strategic Vision for cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region is concluded by both countries in 2018.
  • In 2015, both countries launched International Solar Alliance to address climate change issues.
  • France has consistently supported India’s increasing role in international forums, including India’s permanent membership of the UNSC.

The shared concerns of India and France go beyond maritime security. India and France can cooperate to strengthen their relationship further in the following areas:

  • Upgrading defence relation: India and France can move from a buyer-seller relationship to an investor-investee relationship by making defence equipment in India accompanied by a transfer of technology.
  • Nuclear energy: The two countries must review progress in the joint construction of the world’s largest nuclear park in Jaitapur, Maharashtra.
  • Economy: This year France holds the rotating presidency of the EU. Both countries can make efforts on the FTA and the Investment Agreement that India is negotiating with the EU.
  • In other areas like connectivity, climate change, cyber-security and science and technology, the two countries should make progress so that roadblocks can be tackled.

The India-France relationship is primarily driven by government-to-government level relations. It needs people-to-people and business-to-business relations to deepen the ties. Moreover, India-France should build on reciprocal logistics support agreement to deepen military ties.

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