Prolific In Pacific: Small islands, big powers & an Indo-French option

Source: The post is based on the article “Prolific In Pacific: Small islands, big powers & an Indo-French option” published in “Times of India” on 29th July 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

News: The author discusses how France’s strong presence in the Indo-Pacific can partner with India’s interests and ties in the region to offer an alternative to China’s influence, benefiting development, security, and regional balance.

About French territories within the Indo-Pacific

France has the second-largest maritime domain in the world.

Seven of its 13 overseas territories are in the Indo-Pacific.

An example is Clipperton Island in the north Pacific.

This island gives France an Exclusive Economic Zone as big as Sweden.

1.6 million French citizens live in these Indo-Pacific territories.

France’s presence in the region offers a different perspective on the China threat.

How will India benefit from France’s presence in the Indo-Pacific?

France’s presence in the Indo-Pacific can help balance China’s growing influence.

France and India’s similar approach towards the region synchronizes well for collaborations.

India can enhance its engagement with Pacific islands without forcing them to choose sides.

France’s historical links with the Pacific islands and Indian diaspora in nations like Fiji can be leveraged.

Together, they can offer an alternative to China’s development practices, especially in infrastructure, healthcare, and IT.

Strong India-France defence relations could bolster regional security.

The two countries could jointly respond to security threats if needed.

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