India/visit by the Indian Prime Minister
1. At the invitation of the President of the French Republic M. François Hollande, the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi paid an official visit to France on 10-11 April 2015.
2. The two leaders held wide-ranging and fruitful discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues reflecting their convergence in world views. They reaffirmed their commitment to the strategic partnership and agreed to further deepen and strengthen bilateral ties based on shared principles and values relating to democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights.
3. As strategic partners, India and France consult and support each other on international matters in a spirit of mutual understanding and commitment to the benefit of the international community at large. Reaffirming their independence and strategic autonomy, France and India commit to continuing their joint efforts to tackle global challenges.
4. As global partners, India and France reiterated the need for urgent reform of the United Nations, including its Security Council, through an expansion in both categories of membership, to make it more representative of the contemporary world. Both sides underscored the imperative of delivering concrete outcomes on this important subject by the upcoming 70th Anniversary Summit of the United Nations. France reaffirms its support for India’s candidature for a permanent membership of the UN Security Council without further delay.
5. France and India share common concerns and objectives in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In a further effort to strengthen global non-proliferation and export control regimes, France and India committed to continuing to work jointly towards India’s accession to the multilateral export control regimes, namely, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement. France especially reaffirmed its strong and active support to building consensus among regimes’ members on this issue.
6. The leaders expressed satisfaction at the regular and frequent high-level visits and meetings; growing cooperation in strategic sectors, especially, defence, space, civil nuclear and security; expanding trade and investment ties; cooperation in science and technology; and increasing exchanges in cultural, educational and tourism sectors.
7. Tackling the issue of climate change is of vital importance for the sake of today’s world and future generations. Prime Minister extended his full support to France for a successful outcome of COP 21 to UNFCCC to be held in Paris later this year. The leaders expressed confidence that the Paris Conference will finalize an historic agreement for the post 2020 period. This will further strengthen the resolve and the efforts of the international community to address the profound challenge of climate change, to facilitate access to a low carbon pathway and resilient sustainable development for all whilst keeping the global temperature rise below 2°C. They underscored the importance of working together and with other countries to conclude an ambitious, comprehensive, universal, balanced and equitable climate agreement in Paris that will also encourage genuine technology, collaboration for adaptation and mitigation and financial support in meeting this common global challenge. The submission by parties of their intended nationally-determined contributions well before COP21 will be an important step on the road to Paris. They also stressed the importance of immediate action to raise ambition before 2020, and the need to fulfill commitments made for the pre-2020 period. They also acknowledged the role of several voluntary international initiatives in complementing the multilateral climate action under the UNFCCC. In this context, the leaders underlined the importance of enhancing Indo-French cooperation on joint research and development and technology innovation as well as diffusion of clean energy and efficiency solutions that will help in transitioning towards a climate resilient and low carbon economy.
8. Smart Cities development is a key area to foster sustainable development solutions. France welcomes India’s offer to be a partner of the Smart cities development scheme and is ready to implement its best technological solutions and share its experience in the field of integrated sustainable cities, in particular in urban planning, urban grids, water and sanitation, sustainable mobility and digital technologies. The two leaders noted with satisfaction:
a) the high-level exchanges and progress in bilateral cooperation in the field of sustainable urban infrastructure development and the enhancement in the scope of India-France Agreement for Cooperation in Sustainable Urban Development to include subjects such as ’transport’ and ’heritage’ for priority bilateral cooperation under the existing mechanism
b) that in view of the interest expressed by the French side in collaboration with India for development of Smart Cities from among the list of cities to be identified by the Government of India, it was agreed to include Smart City cooperation as an area of technical cooperation under the October 2012 MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Sustainable Urban development between France and India.
This cooperation would include working together on feasibility studies, building capacities at national, regional and local levels, organizing workshops/trainings, forging business-to-business partnerships and implementing any other projects mutually determined.
9. Prime Minister reiterated India’s strong condemnation of the heinous terrorists attack in France in January 2015. Recalling that terrorism is a constant and strategic threat and that both our countries are facing the threat of terror on their soil, France and India are determined to support each other in combatting this scourge. The leaders reiterated their strong support for ongoing efforts aimed at defeating terrorism. They called for dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure, denying safe havens to terrorists, bringing perpetrators and conspirators of terrorist attacks to justice and to strengthen international frameworks to forge closer cooperation in this area, including through supporting initiatives in the framework of the UN, such as the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
10. They agreed that India and France must intensify their cooperation within the framework of JWG on Counter-Terrorism, including on information and intelligence sharing on terror networks and work together to share experiences on dealing with the growing phenomenon of radicalization. They asked officials on both sides to schedule the next meeting of the JWG on Counter-Terrorism at the earliest.
11. The two countries agreed to commence bilateral dialogue to discuss ways and means of enhancing their cooperation in the maritime domain, in particular in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). India welcomes closer engagement of France in the affairs of the Indian Ocean Rim Association and will continue to work closely with France in realization of the objectives enshrined in the Charter of the Association.
12. The two leaders noted with satisfaction the holding of second round of the Cyber Dialogue on 17 March 2015 in New Delhi, which outlined new areas of cooperation between France and India in the field of cyber security.
13. The leaders stressed the importance of joint military exercises between their Armies (Shakti), Navies (Varuna), and Air Forces (Garuda) and welcomed the participation of the French Carrier Battle Group in the Varuna exercise in the Indian Ocean in the coming weeks. The two leaders underlined the long history of cooperation between France and India in the defence sector and acknowledged the strong commitment of French companies to manufacturing in India. The two leaders called for further intensification of cooperation in agreed areas, including collaboration in defence technologies, research and development. In response to new emphasis on defence manufacturing by the Government of India, they encouraged their respective business enterprises to enter into arrangements for co-development and co-production of defence equipment in India, including transfer of know-how and technologies. They welcomed the announcements made by French Defence enterprises to set up technological and industrial projects in India following the meeting of French Defence Industry leaders with the Prime Minister of India.
14. Government of India conveyed to the Government of France that in view of the critical operational necessity for Multirole Combat Aircraft for Indian Air Force, Government of India would like to acquire 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition as quickly as possible. The two leaders agreed to conclude an Inter-Governmental Agreement for supply of the aircraft on terms that would be better than that conveyed as part of a separate process under way; the delivery would be in time-frame that would be compatible with the operational requirement of IAF; and that the aircraft and associated systems and weapons would be delivered on the same configuration as had been tested and approved by Indian Air Force, and with a longer maintenance responsibility by France.
15. In the context of ongoing commemoration of the First World War in the two countries, President Hollande recalled the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers who gave up their lives a century ago fighting for France’s freedom. Prime Minister conveyed that he would be visiting the Memorial at Neuve Chapelle in France built in the memory of martyrs and heroes from India who fought on the western front.
16. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Indo-French space cooperation, and praising its fruitful and successful outcomes from joint research to joint missions, the leaders welcomed the signing of Programme between their Space Agencies for a reinforced cooperation in space activities addressing joint realization of third earth observation mission, earth observation applications, planetary exploration; MoU on Ka-band propagation experiment; and a document to extend the utilization of Indo-French Joint Satellite, Megha Tropiques, for two more years. They released a commemorative joint stamp to mark 50 years of cooperation in the space sector.
17. Recalling the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 4 February 2009 between NPCIL and AREVA, the two leaders encouraged their commercial enterprises for an early conclusion of techno-commercial discussions on the proposal for construction of six 1650 Mwe nuclear power plants at Jaitapur, with due consideration to project viability and in the framework of an ambitious partnership for large and critical components. They also welcome the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between AREVA and L&T, which will widen the scope of our industrial cooperation as well as the conclusion of Pre-engineering studies agreement. The two leaders also urged their atomic energy establishments to lay an ambitious foundation for the future of India-France civil nuclear cooperation, including a wide range of subjects, including in the area of civil nuclear liability.
18. India and France noted that there has been an uneven and subdued improvement in the state of the global economy and agreed that implementing structural reforms and appropriate macroeconomic policies are necessary for attaining long term stability and growth of global economy. They expressed support for G-20 as the key Forum for international economic cooperation. They called for coordinated and concerted international action, including steps to manage spillovers arising from domestic policies, address tax base erosion and profit shifting, to promote tax transparency, facilitate automatic exchange of information and channelize long-term financing for infrastructure. These collective actions are essential to ensure sustainable growth.
19. Current global trends and rapid socio-economic changes in India are creating a range of new opportunities for the French and the Indian people to work together. Noting that there was considerable potential for expansion of economic ties, the two leaders underlined the need to encourage Indian and French business and industry to further increase bilateral trade and investments between the two countries. President welcomed Prime Minister’s Make in India initiative, aimed at transforming India into a global manufacturing hub, acknowledged that it presented significant opportunities for French business and industry, and expressed France’s commitment to contribute to its success. In this context, India and France are committed to finding solutions to current market access issues hindering trade opportunities. They noted with satisfaction a number of new and ongoing projects of French companies in keeping with the “Make in India” policy. President appreciated Prime Minister’s initiative to receive delegations of French CEOs in infrastructure and defence sectors to encourage them further in this direction.
20. The two leaders welcomed the Report presented by co-Chairs of India-France CEO’s Forum, which met in Paris on 9-10 April 2015 and stressed that the Forum has an important role to play in furthering business to business contacts and fostering a positive environment for enhancing bilateral trade and investments.
21. In the field of transport, the leaders look forward to cooperating in areas such as modernization of the railways and in high-speed and semi-high-speed rail projects, in urban transportation and in roads and welcomed the development of the cooperation between Indian and French railways through the agreement between Indian Railways and the French National Railways (SNCF) to co-finance an execution study by SNCF for a semi-high-speed project on upgradation of the Delhi-Chandigarh line to 200 kmph and for redevelopment of Ambala & Ludhiana Railways Stations. The two sides noted with satisfaction the successful completion of a business development study for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor.
22. France welcomes the very ambitious objectives set by the Indian government in terms of energy access to all and the development of renewable energy. France is already supporting India’s efforts to secure its energy supply and develop its sources of renewable energy, including solar power. India welcomed the target set by French companies aimed at developing 8 to 10 GW of solar energy in India by 2020-2022. France is also willing to support other renewable sources in India, such as wind, biomass and hydropower.
23. President Hollande confirmed the target of AFD credit line of €1 billion over the next three years for sustainable infrastructure and urban development in India and conveyed the commitment of France to partner with India in implementation of the following projects launched by India for development of renewable sources of energy:
i) Extension of credit facility by Agence Française de Développement for India’s Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) promoting use of LED lighting in select Indian municipalities;
ii) Arrangement on renewable energy cooperation between the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.
24. Recognizing the critical role of various States of India and Regions of France in expanding cooperation and exchanges between India and France, the two leaders decided to accord high priority to promoting exchanges among them in the area of sustainable, rural and urban development, in particular as regards infrastructure, transport, water and waste management, including through appropriate twinning arrangements and visits of business delegations. Prime Minister noted that he is looking forward to his meeting with local leaders of Midi-Pyrenees Region, including CEOs of French enterprises located in these Regions.
25. The two leaders stressed that there is immense potential for increasing tourism between France and India. In this regard, they welcomed the signing of a Letter of Intent on promoting closer cooperation between two countries in this area, including on twinning of historical monuments and sites in the two countries.
26. France welcomes India’s decision to extend Tourist Visa on Arrival – Electronic Travel Authorization (TVOA-ETA) scheme to France. India welcomes the French decision to implement a scheme for expedited 48 hours visa issuance for Indian tourists.
27. The leaders agreed that the two sides take forward their ongoing discussions on an agreement concerning a partnership relating to Migration and Mobility between the governments of France and India.
28. The two leaders expressed their satisfaction at the growing exchanges between the two countries in the field of education and agreed to take steps to increase the number of Indian students studying in France and French students studying in India. They welcomed in particular agreement between India and France to facilitate professional experience for their students in both countries after the completion of their courses. Under this arrangement, Indian post graduate students shall be allowed the benefit of a two-year special residence permit in France and 250 French students would be permitted yearly a maximum stay of two years in India under the VIE Scheme of France to join French companies operating in India.
29. Prime Minister conveyed to President Hollande the importance that Indian Government has accorded to promoting the welfare of Indian community abroad. President Hollande welcomed the organization of a meeting of the Prime Minister with People of Indian Origin and Non Resident Indians, which highlights their contribution to the socio-cultural and economic development of France.
30. The two leaders welcomed the range of cooperation initiatives undertaken by Indian and French institutions in a move to promote and preserve the unique heritage of the two countries. They noted with satisfaction a number of steps taken in this direction. This includes:
i) Arrangement for training of Indian Heritage Professionals between French and Indian Ministries of Culture, in presence of the Institut National du Patrimoine (INP);
ii) Letter of Intent between Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives of France (INRAP), France on training, exchange of best practices, and deployment of experts, especially in the area of Underwater Archaeology;
iii) Understanding between the two sides to include urban heritage preservation as an area of cooperation within the ambit of JWG on Urban Development;
iv) Arrangement for twinning of historical monuments and sites;
v) Arrangements for cooperation between School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and School of International Architecture, Paris for training, joint research and exchange of students and faculty.
31. The President of the French Republic and the Prime Minister of India, recalling the utmost importance of culture for the mutual understanding of their two nations, noted the successful organization of two editions of the Festival of France in India, “Bonjour India”; and the first edition of Festival of India in France, “Namaste France”; and welcomed that the next editions of both will be organized in 2016.
32. They welcomed the decision of the Government of India to support the organization of a Regional Hindi Conference, for the first time, in Paris in view of the growing interest in France in Hindi.
33. The two leaders welcomed the declaration of 21 June as the “International Day of Yoga” by the United Nations and agreed to celebrate the “International Day of Yoga” in a befitting manner.
34. They welcomed the signing of the Letter of Intent between Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CRAS), Ministry of Ayush, and University of Strasbourg for cooperation in the field of education and research in Ayurveda, through exchange of students, teachers, researchers, scientific and technical publications.
35. They also welcomed the role of the Alliances Françaises in India, the Institut Français en Inde and the Indian Cultural Centre in France in the promotion of cultural relations between our two countries.
Education, science and technology, sports and health
36. Expressing a mutual interest in boosting the number and quality of student exchanges, the two leaders invited educational institutions of both countries to further expand their cooperation especially in the field of engineering and applied sciences. They called for further development of cooperation in the field of technical and vocational education in line with the needs of the industry. The leaders also welcomed the role of French companies in India in the field of skill development of young Indians.
37. The two leaders noted with satisfaction forward movement on the following:
i) Cooperation in human resource development and skill building by establishing a knowledge partnership to exchange expertise and best practices, aimed at developing nationwide skill standards and institutional structures to support skill development.
ii) Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for knowledge partnership and cooperation in the area of qualification registers between National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of India and Commission National de la Certification Professionnelle (CNCP) of France.
38. The leaders, emphasizing the importance of health for the well-being of their populations and the development of their nations, planned to strengthen their partnership in the fields of non-communicable diseases, pharmaceutical industries and healthcare institutions.
39. The two leaders expressed their appreciation on the long standing collaboration in science and technology between the two countries and reaffirmed their support to expand it further through establishing a Joint Indo-French Science & Technology Committee. The leaders noted with satisfaction that:
i) The Department of Science and Technology (DST), under the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology, and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) have concluded a new MoU which will accelerate scientific cooperation in frontier areas of mutual interest.
ii) The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) have concluded a MoU to collaborate towards the establishment of a National Institute of Marine Biology and Biotechnology in India.
40. In the field of sports, the Indian and French cooperation is enhanced by various initiatives developing the ties of friendship and solidarity between both nations. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to develop their cooperation to reach athletic excellence and youth empowerment. A MoU providing for exchanges on sports medicine, training of executives, exchanges on expertise in high-level sports, institutional cooperation, promotion of participation of women in sports and prevention and fight against doping in sports was signed during the visit.
41. Prime Minister thanked President Hollande as well as his government for the warm hospitality extended to him and the delegation accompanying him and the exceptional arrangements made for his visit to France.
42. Prime Minister invited President Hollande to visit India at his earliest convenience, conveying that he was looking forward to welcoming him in India and meeting again at the earliest opportunity./.
¹ Source of English text: Elysée website.