1. The Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh and President Nicolas Sarkozy held a bilateral summit in Paris today, at which they reaffirmed the importance attached by both countries to their strategic partnership and their commitment to further strengthening bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas. Both sides reiterated their intention to keep up the momentum of regular high-level exchanges.
2. India and France agree on the need for greater international cooperation to deal with challenges facing mankind. Both countries are committed to international peace and security, nuclear non-proliferation, the fight against terrorism and the need to ensure food security and energy for all countries.
3. Both countries recognize the need to promote the development of stable sustainable, efficient and affordable energy sources, including nuclear energy. In this context, they welcomed the agreements adjusting the international civil nuclear cooperation framework to enable collaborations with India. India and France welcome the signature of a bilateral agreement for civil nuclear cooperation, which will form the basis of wide-ranging bilateral collaborations in energy and research.
4. India appreciates French support for permanent membership of India in the UN Security Council. Along with other developing countries India is committed to continue dialogue and collaboration with the G8. France also believes the G8 needs to be expanded over time to G13 including India. India and France agree on the need for improved global economic governance to ensure that globalization and interdependence work for the benefit of all.
5. Both countries are fully committed to consolidating their relationship in the field of defence by increasing the range, level and frequency of their military exchanges, joint exercises, joint programmes and prospects in the fields of defence industry, research and technology.
This commitment is well evidenced between the two countries by the possibility of joint development, as early as feasible, of Short Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (SRSAM) and of the Kaveri engine for Light Combat Aircraft. Discussions concerning the upgrading of Mirage-2000 aircraft are also well under way and are expected to be finalized by next year.
6. Indo-French space cooperation has been exemplary, enjoying a long, fruitful and successful history. We welcome the signature of a bilateral framework agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. France has been an important partner in this field for four decades and continues to be of importance for ISRO for the supply of high-technology items. The commercial agreement for use of India’s PSLV for launch of European satellites marks a new milestone in the relationship between India and France in the area of space. ISRO and CNES are also working as equal partners in Megha Tropiques Joint Satellite Mission which is progressing well along with SARAL (Satellite for Argos and Altika), slated to be launched in 2009-2010 and which will contribute to better scientific understanding of weather- and climate-related issues. Institutional linkages in the space sector are being envisaged through exchanges between the Indian Institute of Space Technology (IIST) and Ecole Polytechnique. In this respect, we welcome the signature of an agreement on training between concerned institutions.
7. In accordance with the commitment agreed upon by the two countries during President Nicolas Sarkozy’s State visit to India in January 2008 to double bilateral trade to reach €12 billion by 2012, both sides will make sustained efforts in this vital area of bilateral cooperation. Small, medium and micro enterprises of both countries need to be further encouraged to increase their cooperation. The two sides also agreed to further liberalize their visa regime to facilitate issuance of visas for business purposes, particularly concerning students and young people working as trainees or as volunteers in French companies and for people-to-people contacts. An agreement on Social Security for the benefit of business enterprises and professionals of the two countries has been concluded. This constitutes an important step forward in facilitating two-way investments.
8. The two sides welcome the creation of the High-Level CEOs Forum which will have its first meeting by the end of the year.
9. The two countries have agreed to hold dialogue on environmental issues and have set up a joint working group on climate change and technology transfers and their financing. The group should hold its first meeting by the end of the year.
10. Following the agreement of 25 January 2008 establishing the Agence Française de Développement (AFD - French Development Agency) in India, both sides welcome the signature of the MoU between the AFD and the Department for Economic Affairs of the Indian Ministry of Finance which will allow the AFD to start its operations in India.
11. India and France also underlined the vitality of Indo-French scientific, technical and educational cooperation. Bearing in mind the Joint Statement issued on 25 January, we welcome the arrangements taken on one side to encourage more Indian students to study in France and, on the other side, to allow more French students study in India.
The Indo-French Consortium of Universities will facilitate the organization of courses of mutual interest at Master’s degree and PhD levels by Indian and French universities, increase the number of academic institutional tie-ups, scholarships, joint projects, seminars and novel collaborative schemes including the substantive contribution of French higher educational institutions to the creation of one of the eight new Indian Institutes of Technology. This Indo-French Consortium will also facilitate the mutual recognition of degrees, encourage student/faculty mobility and intellectual exchanges.
12. Both sides reiterated their commitment to intensify cooperation in the field of culture and tourism and to foster people-to-people contacts. In this context, both sides reiterated the political commitment to establish an Indian Cultural Centre in Paris at the earliest.
13. It was agreed to work towards concluding a visa-free agreement for diplomatic and official passport holders.
14. The Agreements and MoUs signed today reflect the wide range of bilateral interaction between India and France and will provide significant impetus to realizing the full potential of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two cou