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State visit to India

Published on December 7, 2010
Speech by Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) (excerpts)

Bangalore, December 4, 2010


India is home to a sixth of humanity and it’s of the utmost importance for the 21st-century world that India should remain this example of freedom, peace and progress; part of the world’s future is played out here. It’s crucial that India should take part in all the world’s great debates. That’s the reason why France is asking for India to join the Security Council as a permanent member. It’s inconceivable that a billion Indians should not be represented permanently on the Security Council. It’s not only a problem for you: it’s a problem for the world’s equilibrium. How can the great issues of the world be resolved while forgetting a sixth of humanity? I know you’ve just been elected to the Security Council, but India deserves a permanent seat.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I wanted to begin my second visit to India here in Bangalore, at the headquarters of the Indian space agency. It’s an opportunity for me and the delegation accompanying me to hail the exceptional success of Bangalore, of its inhabitants and its businesses, of this metropolis which has become a world city. France has come to reach out to India’s youth, to pay tribute to India’s scientists; for centuries our two countries have attached the highest importance to knowledge.


The 21st century will be marked by upheavals arising from new discoveries. India wants to remain sovereign and independent; France wants to remain sovereign and independent. In order to remain sovereign and independent, our two peoples need a high level of technology and our two peoples need science. It’s science, technology and innovation that will enable our two peoples to remain independent. France has made modernizing her research capability one of her fundamental aims. But I want to pay tribute to India’s scientific effort since her independence.

I hope that the IFCPAR [Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research], an example of knowledge-sharing, will have new funding and that we’ll discover new areas for technological and industrial innovation.


I was asked: “Why work with the Indians on space cooperation?” Apart from the fact that you have some of the best engineers in the world, it’s because India and France refuse to allow space exploration to become a monopoly of one or two States. India and France campaign for multilateralism and India and France want to equip themselves to play a role in that conquest of space.

With ISRO – whose success I salute – we are building and will next year launch Megha-Tropiques and Saral, which I’ve just seen at close hand with Carla: those revolutionary satellites for observing the climate and the oceans. We’re launching Indian satellites in Kourou and European satellites in India. Together, the CNES [French Space Agency] and ISRO will draw up new research programmes. I also want French businesses to be ever more present in Bangalore, the world capital of computer services. Your city has doubled in 20 years: eight million inhabitants. Our companies – Cap Gemini, Altran, Dexia and so many others – employ thousands of people here in Bangalore.

We cooperate on space – we’re going to do more – but we also cooperate on nuclear energy. And I’ve come to tell our Indian friends that there’s no limit to our cooperation on nuclear energy. France is proud to work with a democracy like India and everyone knows how crucial it is for India to guarantee her energy security. You’ve made the choice for nuclear energy; so have we.


France today produces some 62,000 megawatts of nuclear energy per year. 80% of our electricity comes from this energy source. India has decided to boost her nuclear industry tenfold. To go from 4,000 to 62,000 megawatts in 20 years is historic; it’s not a change of scale, it’s a total sea change. France is proud to stand alongside you; France has always upheld the idea that India’s nuclear isolation must end. It was an injustice to India to dispute your right to obtain a knowledge of civilian nuclear energy. It’s absurd to prevent India from developing her civilian nuclear sector. It was absolutely imperative to seek a specific statute. The 2008 agreement, which France played a crucial and pioneering role in drawing up, marked the start of that new chapter.
India will now take a full part in the work of the multilateral bodies charged with drawing up and ensuring respect for the system of non-proliferation, starting with the Nuclear Suppliers Group. France supports India’s candidature for those groups.

My dear friends, you must understand one thing: when France signs a strategic partnership, it’s a commitment to go all the way. France doesn’t have two ways of speaking, two ways of promising: France is India’s friend, France believes in India’s future, France respects Indian democracy, France stands alongside you in developing the nuclear industry.

I’d like to say how happy we are to take part in the building of the Jaitapur site, happy that Areva is becoming an essential partner in Indian nuclear energy. The six Franco-Indian EPRs [European Pressurized Water Reactors] will provide 10,000 megawatts of non-polluting energy for the Indian economy.



French businesses employ 200,000 people in India and that number is set to rise further. But I want to say that we must do a lot more with regard to Indians trained in France who speak French and, in the same way, that we must do a lot more with regard to the Indian businesses starting to invest in France.

India’s youth is hungry for higher eduction and tens of thousands of young Indians study worldwide. Most of them – I understand it, it’s the product of history – naturally gravitate to English-speaking countries. I say it again today: France wants to increase links with Indian universities and we’ll be giving particular support to the Indian Institute of Technology, Rajasthan in Jodhpur.


France and India are united by common values. We’re determined to ensure international relations are no longer founded on brutality, on force, but rather on dialogue, negotiation and law. And I say so all the more confidently here because those values and that language aren’t just France’s traditional ones, they’re those of India too.


We’ve committed ourselves together in South Asia; we have French soldiers in Afghanistan. India’s contribution there is valuable: I salute the remarkable social and economic development programmes which the Afghans enjoy thanks to you.

I want to stress that nobody would have anything to gain from a resumption of civil war in Afghanistan. We need democracy to triumph in Afghanistan. We don’t need the Taliban to come back. We’re democracies, and the duty of democracies is to fight terrorists wherever they may be.

And when India has been tormented by terrorist attacks, I want to say France has felt complete solidarity with India, because when India is attacked it’s democracy which is attacked, and when a democracy is attacked in the world all other democracies stand together with India. That’s the message France has come to tell you and show you.


Finally, I want to ask my Indian friends to understand that if we want India to play a full role in the great challenges of the 21st century, it’s because we can’t stand still. I say so in the presence of the French Foreign Minister: India, Brazil, Germany, Japan, a representation from Africa and from the Arab world must be members of the Security Council. Who could even think you can wipe a billion Africans off the map? Who could even think you can organize the world around a vision inherited from the situation of the world in 1945?


On 30 September 2008, when the financial crisis began, Prime Minister Singh was in Marseille. Together we made an appeal for the creation of the G20 and the G20 was created. France and India, Europe and India are strong when they join forces! We have the same values, the same ideals.
We, the developed countries, want to maintain and increase our wellbeing. Who can blame us for it? Who can blame us, too, for wanting to reduce the number of our unemployed people? You, the emerging and developing countries, aspire to a level of prosperity for your peoples equivalent to that of the West. Who can blame you for it?

You’re right. But let’s not get into the vain and sterile debate between development and protection of the environment; let’s not get into the sterile debate between North and South; those concepts are outmoded. Thanks to the progress of technology, we can make development and protection of the environment compatible.

The developed countries must put an end to their voracious consumption of natural resources and quarter their greenhouse gas emissions. We’ll succeed in doing so thanks to nuclear energy, and countries like India can also draw up responsible strategies: that’s the case with your national plan to fight climate change.

An effort of solidarity is necessary. I’ll argue that India should help France, as G20 president, to develop innovative financing and not to be afraid of change. If there’s one place on the planet where people understand high tech and great poverty, it’s here in India. If there’s one place in the world where people understand that you can be loyal to your past while looking to the future, without their being in conflict, it’s here. We need you to make the world understand that the poorest countries need to be helped and that innovative financing must be put in place. That innovative financing will enable resources to be released which will make it possible to move forward in health, to curb the pandemics which ravage whole continents. We need your support.

We need Indian farm workers to make the world understand that the price of agricultural or other raw materials can’t be governed by speculation alone and undergo erratic changes. Indian farm workers, like European farm workers, need stability. Help us, in the course of 2011, to change this state of affairs.

We need you to regulate the international monetary system. You’re a country of magnificent exporters, even if your domestic demand is huge. The Indian currency will one day count among the great currencies.


We need you. India may be stronger than she imagines, but it’s now that she must take her place. Nobody disputes India’s role, but we expect India to accept all her responsibilities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’m well aware, as I begin this second visit, of being in a friendly country, a country we admire, a country geographically distant but so close in culture, in refinement, in appetite for knowledge, in respect for others.

Long live the Indian people,

Long live the French Republic.

Thank you./.

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