www.whatisindia.com

What Is India News Service
Saturday September 27, 2007



 

 

 

Issue 1, September 3, 2006

   
 

India and France have traditionally enjoyed friendly and deep relations that include periodic interaction between their leaders from the 1970s. Bilateral relationship significantly strengthened in the last decade into a long-term partnership model. Both countries have taken definite steps to ensure periodic cultural exchanges.

With the development of the Indian economy, there has been a sharp increase in exchange of visits at the highest level that started in January 1998 with the visit to India by President Chirac. This visit was followed by several visits in both directions by senior leaders, Ministers, Parliamentarians, opinion makers, and officials. Based on a similar vision of a multi-polar world, both nations have endeavored to create a greater understanding to increasingly focus on realizing a long-term relationship.

To further this understanding, the nations have developed an elaborate dialogue architecture which evolved with political initiatives to provide a framework for regular, structured consultations between France and India on many issues of mutual concern. Apart from the annual consultations between the two foreign ministries at the Foreign Secretary level, the nations have created a high-level Strategic Dialogue, a focused biennial Joint Working Group for Terrorism, Indo-French High Level Committee on Defense, and an Indo-French Joint Committee on Economic & Technical Cooperation. In addition to these official forums of interaction, the ‘Indo-French Forum’ (launched in 1998 and last met in Paris on 13-14 October 2003) brings together representatives of the two countries from the fields of art, culture, science & technology, business and academia.

 

Historical Bilateral Treaties and Agreements

The Agreement on Cultural, Scientific and Technical Cooperation of 1966 forms the bedrock of collaboration in Audiovisual and Cinema, Cultural and Artistic Exchanges, Heritage, Museology and Conservation, Books and Publications. This Agreement also facilitates Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) and the last one was for 2004-2006.

Recently, the two nations have signed a Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement in 1997, Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, and Indo-French Extradition Treaty 2003. A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties on Criminal and Civil Matters (MLAT) has also been finalized and may be signed in the near future.

In February 2006, India and France signed 9 pacts on civil nuclear co-operation, closer co-operation in space, commerce, education, tourism, environment, culture, and civil aviation.

France has supported India ’s bid to become a permanent United Nations Security Council member citing India ’s robust economy, defense capabilities, non-proliferation record, and democratic values.

France says that it vehemently supports the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and said it will lobby for India with the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) but will not supply nuclear fuel till the NSG has approved the deal. It has also promised to lobby the influential Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and hardliner countries in the NSG to support the deal.

 

Business & Economy

With the liberalization of the Indian economy in 1991, economic and commercial linkages have dominated bilateral relations. Bilateral trade has risen sharply from €165 million in 1995 to €3.29 billion in April 2005. Balance of trade is in India ’s favor at €383 million. In March 2005, an approved French investment in India is valued at USD 1.736 billion but actual Foreign Direct Investment is USD 760 million. French investments have mainly been in fuel (Power & Oil Refinery), chemicals, cement & gypsum products, glass, and food processing industries. There is also a lot of interest in power, hydrocarbons (petroleum and petroleum products), telecommunications, auto components, agro-industries, drugs and pharmaceuticals, environment, water resources management and waste management. Major French companies such as Lafarge, Alstom, Alcatel, St. Gobain, Air Liquide, L’Oréal, Danone etc. are already operating in India.

India is interested in selling leather products, textiles, plastic, polymer, software, pharmaceuticals, jewelry, paper, artifacts, spices, Ayurvedic products, auto-components, and agricultural products.

The two countries have set up Joint Working Groups to regularly work on Information Technology (IT), Telecommunications, Energy, Mining, Ports, Roads, Urban Development, Agriculture, and Food Processing under the Indo-French Joint Committee on Economic & Technical Cooperation. The last meeting was held in Paris in December 2005.

 
Several significant economic developments have taken place in the last 8 months:
  • The Indian Space Research Organization has teamed up with France 's Eads/Astrium to challenge the US predominance in the 4 kilowatts satellite payloads with a launch mass of 2-3 tons. This new partnership using Indian platforms and European payloads are not encumbered by technology bans by the US and is expected to push communication costs lower.

  • During President Jacques Chirac’s visit to India in February 2006 along with Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of 30 companies, the two nations also agreed to double their trade in 5 years.

  • The Nuclear Power Corporation is in advanced stage of discussions with France along with Russia and US to procure nuclear reactors to doubles its nuclear power generation capacity by 2030.

  • World's leading helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signed a global industrial cooperation partnership agreement to jointly produce civilian and military Ecureuil and Fennec family of helicopters for the world market.

  • Many analysts believe that next major Indian pharmaceutical acquisition will be in France .

 

Science & Technology

The Indo-French Commission for Cooperation in the fields of Science, Education and Culture has sponsored two panels The Indo-French Joint Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation (IFJCSTC) and Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme (IFCEP). Under these agreements, an Indo-French Center for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR) was created in New Delhi in 1987 and funded by both nations that finances joint research projects, bilateral workshops, seminars, and exchange visits.

Premier science, cultural, student, and educational organizations of the two nations have collaborated on several fronts including:

·        The Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

·        Cooperation Agreement between the CNRS and Department of Biotechnology of the Government of India .

·        Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and French Space Agency CNES

·        Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and French Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale.

·        Indian Chair in College De France

·        Indian Professor of Sanskrit sponsored by the Government of India at the Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III

·        Institute of French Studies (IFP) in Pondicherry

·        Exchange programme between the MSH (Maison des Sciences de l’Home) and the Indian Council for Social Sciences Research (ICSSR), UGC, Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR), Indian Council for Philosophical Research (ICPR)

·        The French Government has set up a Centre for Human Sciences (CSH) in Delhi to promote studies in political sciences and international relations.

·        Government of India offers sixteen scholarships to French nationals wishing to specialise in Indian studies including fashion designing, management, political and social sciences, culture, and science and technology.

·        The French side offers scholarships in the fields of French language, public administration, fine arts, mass communication, etc.

·        Two or three trainees from the Indian Administration visit France every year to pursue long-term studies (duration ten and a half months) at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA).

·        The two nations along with 5 others are collaborating to define a futuristic fast reactor with closed nuclear fuel cycle capable of generating 300-500 GWe nuclear energy that will meet specific futuristic safety, economy, non-proliferation, technology, environmental, waste management, and infrastructure requirements.

·        During President Jacques Chirac’s visit to India in February 2006, he offered India technologies that would reduce Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) emission from using fossil fuels.

·        India also imports latest equipment to test samples of birds for the presence of the dreaded bird-flu.

·        India along with 6 other nations (including France) will be working on the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor (ITER) project aiming to make atomic fusion the next major source of energy under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) initiative. The Institute of Plasma Research , which has developed two small fusion reactors, will lead India ’s participation to supply crucial components like cryostat, steel shield inside the reactor vessel, ion-cyclotron heating system, a diagnostic neutral beam, and cooling water and cryo-distribution system. Located at Cadarache in France , the ITER project is a sequel to India ’s participation in the European Center for Nuclear Research’s (CERN) large hadron collider project with indigenously designed and developed equipment.

 
Cultural Interaction
 
As culturally vibrant nations, India and France have taken great care to spread cultural awareness and bonhomie between their populations:
  • The Indian Council on Cultural Relations (ICCR) sponsored cultural troupes to France.

  • French/English Tutors are exchanged between the two nations

  • The State of Karnataka and the Rhône-Alps Region of France have signed the Declaration of Intent for developing privileged relations of cooperation between the two regions during the visit to India of the French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, in January 2003

  • Karnataka and Rhône-Alps have agreed to create a twin city relationship between Lyon and Bangalore

  • France has name Avenue Mahatma Gandhi - 75016 in Paris and Rue Tagore - 75013 in Paris after Indian leaders

 
Defense Cooperation
 
In the last decade, Indian and French defense cooperation has increased with periodic interactions, cooperation, exercises, and purchases.
 
  • France is bidding for the 126 combat aircraft contract with the Rafale aircraft that is a more advanced variant of the Mirage. India Air Force (IAF) officials have been actively lobbying for the Mirage citing investments made in maintenance, management, and operations apart from the efficiency of the aircraft.

  • The two nations recently completed the 8th round of naval exercises to achieve better compatibility, improve communication, and testing dissimilar equipment. Both countries fielded their flagship aircraft carriers, guided-missile destroyers, and submarines. They also fielded the Rafale against the Jaguar to assess the efficiency of that Mirage replacement to try out dissimilar operations such as air combat, fleet air defense, intermediate and advanced anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction, and air-to-ground bombings. They also fielded the Canberra surveillance jets against French Atlantique II (which is the surveillance aircraft used by Pakistan till being replaced by PC-3 Orion).

  • A French frigate participated in an exercise between the Indian and British Navies.

While India and France have made concerted efforts to develop their relationship, especially in the last decade, the scope and extent of relationship does not do justice to the potential that the nations have. For example, India can learn a lot from France on running and maintaining fast trains, metros, and developing tourism. Similarly, France can find enough investment opportunities in infrastructure, civil aviation, and defense cooperation. The current thread of development is oriented towards selling and buying but not focused on strategic partnership building.

Philosophically, strategically, and politically, India and France have several common areas. The leaders of both nations need to focus on this to forge newer partnerships in business, peacekeeping, research, and cultural development.

 
Bilateral Agreements
  • France Promises to Lobby for India in NSG (May 16, 2006)
    Even as the US Congress deliberates the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, France has promised that it will pitch for India at the plenary session of the 44-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting in Rio de Janeiro later this month.

  • India-France Signs 9 Pacts (February 21, 2006)
    India and France signed 9 pacts including one on civil nuclear co-operation.

Business & Economy
  • Eurocopter-HAL JV (June 06, 2006)
    World's leading helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signed a global industrial cooperation partnership agreement to jointly produce civilian and military Ecureuil and Fennec family of helicopters for the world market

  • France Promises to Lobby for India in NSG (May 16, 2006)
    Even as the US Congress deliberates the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, France has promised that it will pitch for India at the plenary session of the 44-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting in Rio de Janeiro later this month.

  • France Offers Fossil Fuels Help ( February 21, 2006)
    US President George Bush defended the civilian nuclear deal with India saying that the use of clean energy will reduce the demand for non-renewable fossil fuels.

  • India-France to Double in 5 Years (February 22, 2006)
    The visiting French President Jacques Chirac said that an audacious plan is in motion to double Indo-French trade in 5 years.

 
Science & Technology
  • 7 Nation Futuristic Nuclear Reactor (August 23, 2006)
    Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) Director at Kalpakkam Baldev Raj has been elected Chairman of a 7 nation collaborative project to define a futuristic fast reactor with closed nuclear fuel cycle capable of generating 300-500 GWe nuclear energy.

  • India Signs ITER Agreement (May 25, 2006)
    India joined 6 other nations to sign the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor (ITER) Agreement contributing 10% of project cost with manufactured equipment to develop a prototype reactor that will make atomic fusion the next major source of energy.

  • High Hopes on Nuclear Energy (May 24, 2006)
    Nuclear Power Corporation Chief S. K. Jain unveiled the country’s nuclear vision and plans while inaugurating an indigenously manufactured nuclear fuelling machine head, a critical part of its nuclear program.

  • Indo-EU Energy Initiative (April 12, 2006)
    On the heals of US and India announcing Indian participation in FutureGen project,  the European and India are set to explore alternate sources of energy as envisaged by the recently-concluded First India-EU Business Conference on Energy.

  • India-France JV to Compete in Launch Business (February 24, 2006)
    The Indian Space Research Organization has teamed up with France's Eads/Astrium to challenge the US predominance in the 4 kilowatts satellite payloads with a launch mass of 2-3 tons.

Defense & Security
  • Indo-British Naval Exercises (May 18, 2006)
    India and the United Kingdom (UK) fielded their navies in a second exercise that involving an aircraft carrier, nuclear submarines, guided missile frigates, missile destroyers, supply tankers, and 1 embedded French ship off the Konkan coast.

  • Indo-French Naval Exercise (April 03, 2006)
    Seventh in a series of joint exercises, Indian and French navies are fielding an awesome array of naval weaponry to achieve better compatibility, improve communication, and testing dissimilar equipment.

  • Indo-French Defense Exercise (March 27, 2006)
    India and France will kick off their eighth round of Varuna joint exercises off Goa with India fielding a contingent of Jaguars strike aircraft and Canberra surveillance jets against French
    Atlantique II.

  • France Offers Rafale Aircraft  (February 18, 2006)
    India and France will sign several declarations and agreements during the visit of the French President Jacques Chirac early next week.

   

 

© 2007 Copyright What Is India Publishers (P) Ltd. All Rights Reserved.