State visit to India
President Nicolas Sarkozy’s State visit to India and his presence as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day commemorations reflects the shared commitment of both India and France to provide fresh impetus to their strategic partnership.
India and France are democracies which share common values of freedom, human rights, secularism, rule of law, tolerance and believe in multilateralism in the international political and financial architecture as the means to tackle global challenges effectively. These human values are at the core of their enhanced cooperation and strategic partnership.
I. Strategic Partnership:
India and France hold convergent views on major regional and international issues. Both countries are committed to international peace and security, nuclear non-proliferation and counter terrorism.
France supports India’s inclusion as a permanent member of Security Council, thus making the UN more relevant to the needs of the twenty-first century and enabling India to play its role in world affairs. France also believes the G8 needs to be expanded over time to G13 including India.
Both countries are acutely aware of the serious dangers posed by extremism and terrorism worldwide. In order to face this common threat, both countries agreed to strengthen their cooperation against international terrorism through, inter alia, increased operational contacts.
The two countries agree on the importance of an early, balanced and comprehensive outcome of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations with focus on the development dimension.
India and France are committed to environmental protection and in this context have issued a separate joint declaration.
To enhance their strategic dialogue, both countries will hold regular consultations between high ranking officials of their respective Foreign Ministries on issues of mutual interest.
II. Bilateral Relations
In line with the excellent bilateral relations that already exist between the two countries, it was agreed to intensify the exchange of high-level visits in various areas of interaction.
Both countries will consolidate their relationship in the field of defence by increasing by increasing the range, level and frequency of their military joint-operations and cooperation. In this regard, it was agreed to deepen further their joint programmes and prospects in defence industry, conduct joint research and facilitate transfer of technology in this vital area. Both sides welcomed the signing of the Agreement for the Protection of Classified Information and Security. Both sides decided to initiate detailed discussion on Status of Forces Agreement.
Both countries agreed to maintain the momentum of cooperation in the Space Sector.
Convinced that strong economic ties can be further built in a spirit of social and environmental responsibility, India and France are eager to maintain the fast rising trend of their trade and the smart pace of their business to business relations. Both countries aimed to work towards achieving an ambitious target of reaching €12 billion bilateral trade by 2012 and significantly stepping up investments.
Acknowledging the considerable potential for bilateral trade, investment and services, the two sides noted the importance of improving market access. The two sides agreed to continue encouraging cooperation between their companies, especially the Small, Medium and Micro enterprises. They also agreed to enhance their engagement in consular matters including facilitation of visas for businessmen, professionals and interns. They would also endeavour to foster bilateral consultations regarding respective social security systems so that mutually beneficial arrangements for the citizens of both countries operating in France and India could be developed.
The two sides welcomed the Agreement concluded concerning the establishment of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD – French Development Agency) in India. It was noted that France plans to support projects to address, inter alia, global challenges, in particular, climate change adaptation and mitigation.
India and France have signed an agreement for the transfer of sentenced persons.
The sides paid tribute to the contribution of the Indo-French Forum to further bilateral links. They welcomed the idea of creation of an Indo-French Foundation to foster relations between economic partners and support projects in the fields of science, education and culture.
III. Development of Civil Nuclear Cooperation
France and India have decided to give a new impetus to their cooperation for the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as an expression of their strategic partnership. Both sides recognize that as a reliable source of sustainable and non-polluting energy, it could make a significant contribution to meeting the global challenge of achieving energy security, sustainable development, economic growth and limiting climate change. As responsible states with advanced nuclear technologies, including in the nuclear fuel cycle, France and India are interested to promote nuclear energy with the highest standards of safety and security and in accordance with their respective nuclear policies and international obligations. France and India share common concerns and objectives in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery including in view of possible linkages to terrorism. In this regard, France appreciates India’s long standing and continuing contributions to international non-proliferation.
Building on their on-going decades-old cooperation in the fields of fundamental and applied research, and nuclear safety, it was agreed to broaden and boost this partnership. To this end, France and India have finalized negotiation in regard to reaching a bilateral agreement for civil nuclear cooperation. This agreement will form the basis of wide ranging bilateral cooperation from basic and applied research to full civil nuclear cooperation including reactors, fuel supply and management. To this end, both sides look forward to the finalization of India specific safeguards agreement with the IAEA and the adjustment of international civil nuclear cooperation framework. France expressed its support for the same.
Another agreement has been signed today in the field of nuclear research, which is a key for preparing for the future. It relates to the participation of the Indian Department of Atomic Energy in the research project, the Jules Horowitz Reactor, which will be built by the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique (French Atomic Energy Commission) at Cadarache, France. An MOU that establishes cooperation between the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research on the one hand, and the Grand Accélérateur National d’Ions Lourds (GANIL), on the other hand, on the use of Spiral 2 high intensity beam production system at Caen, France will be signed in Mumbai. India and France also agreed to intensify exchanges between the scientists of both countries in the nuclear field; establish structures for training and undertake nuclear safety research. In addition, the existing dialogue between respective nuclear safety authorities will also be reinforced especially the context of future industrial cooperation. At the industrial and commercial levels, France and India agreed to work towards raising the level of bilateral cooperation guided by their deep mutual trust and the high technological capabilities of the two countries.
IV. People to People Contacts
India and France agreed to intensify cooperation in the fields of education, culture, tourism and scientific research. It was agreed that efforts will be made for early establishment of an Indian Cultural Centre in Paris and that France will facilitate this task. The two sides decided to promote cooperation in the field of education, enhance linkages between their respective educational systems as also foster exchange of students. This, along with creation of joint international laboratories, cooperation on technologies for water management and the establishment of an Indo-French University Consortium, is expected to result in all round intensification of ties. To promote such wide ranging people-to-people contacts, both countries agreed to the reciprocal opening of Consulates in each other’s territory and, in this context, welcomed the opening by France of two new Consulates in India, in Calcutta and Bangalore, in 2008.
Both countries reiterated the importance of the strategic partnership between India and the European Union. France is due to take over the Presidency of the EU beginning July 2008. During the French Presidency, efforts will be undertaken to enhance ties through the mechanism of the Joint India-EU Action Plan. Both sides expressed their commitment for an early and mutually beneficial conclusion of the negotiations for India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement.
President Sarkozy extended an invitation to the Prime Minister of India to pay an official visit to France in 2008 on the occasion of EU-India summit. Prime Minister of India accepted the invitation in principle./.
(Source of English text: Indian Foreign Ministry)