Overcoming differences: On India’s new push for stronger ties with Europe 

News: Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited France along with his visit to Germany, and Denmark (for the Nordic Summit). The visit turned out to be a comprehensive discussion on bilateral, regional and international issues with a India-France joint statement.  

Background of India-France relations 

Both have decades of an unusually productive partnership. Both share six-decade-long partnership in the field of space and strong defence partnership 

In 1998, France did not judge or impose sanctions on India for its nuclear tests. It was the first country to conclude a civil nuclear deal with India in 2008 after the NSG passed a waiver allowing India to access nuclear fuel and technology.  

France and India worked closely for the success of the Paris climate accord. Both co-founded the International Solar Alliance in 2015. 

What have been the major points in the India-France joint statement? 

The joint statement recorded the differences on the Ukraine crisis. It included the possible ways of mitigating the war’s “knock-on” effects. 

France invited India to cooperate in the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) initiative. The initiative ensures food security in the most vulnerable countries, particularly in terms of wheat exports 

Discussion to set up industrial partnerships to build integrated supply chains in solar energy production for markets in Europe and Asia.  

Both started a bilateral strategic dialogue on space issues, a frontier area contested by China, Russia and the U.S. 

Way Forward 

Recently, there were some developments in the construction of six nuclear power plants in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur after more than 12 years of original MoU with the French company, EDF.  

In addition to improving relationships with individual countries, India should also give fillip to talks on the India-EU FTA (suspended since 2013). 

Source: The post is based on the article “Overcoming differences: On India’s new push for stronger ties with Europe” published in the “The Hindu” on 07th May 2022. 

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