In the midst of China stretching its muscles in the strategically critical region, India and France have agreed to work together to combat the threat of terrorism and difficulties in the Indo-Pacific. The two countries were committed to the shared ideals of democracy, fundamental freedoms, rule of law, and respect for human rights, according to a joint statement published after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met French President Emmanuel Macron here on Wednesday.
It stated that India and France have established one of the most important strategic ties in the Indo-Pacific region for promoting peace, stability, and prosperity.
They share a vision of an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, and rules-based, founded on international law, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, freedom of navigation, and a region free of coercion, tensions, and conflicts, according to the joint statement.
In the face of China’s increased military maneuvers in the resource-rich region, India, the US, and numerous other world powers have been discussing the necessity to guarantee a free, open, and vibrant Indo-Pacific.
Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam all claim parts of the disputed South China Sea, while China claims practically all of it. In the South China Sea, Beijing has constructed artificial islands and military outposts. In the East China Sea, China has territorial disputes with Japan.
“Defence and security, trade, investment, connectivity, health, and sustainability are all elements of the Indo-French Indo-Pacific cooperation. Apart from bilateral collaboration, India and France will continue to build new ties with like-minded nations in the area and within regional organizations in various formats “According to the joint statement.
It was stated that the first Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum, which took place in Paris in February 2022 under the French presidency of the EU Council, began an ambitious agenda at the EU level based on the EU Strategy for Indo-Pacific Cooperation.
Counter-terrorism cooperation is a cornerstone of the Indo-French strategic alliance, according to the statement, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
In a veiled allusion to Pakistan, India and France “strongly condemned all forms of terrorism, including the use of terrorist proxies and cross-border terrorism.”
“They reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate closely in the fight against global terrorism, including combating terrorism financing, countering radicalization and violent extremism, preventing the misuse of the internet for terrorist or violent extremist purposes, and acting against internationally designated entities and individuals,” according to the statement.
Both sides stated a commitment to work together actively in the run-up to India’s hosting of the third edition of the “No Money for Terror” international conference this year.
India and France reaffirmed their commitment to deepening the India-EU Strategic Partnership and expressed their eagerness to collaborate closely in the execution of the India-EU Connectivity Partnership and the agreements reached at the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting in Porto, Portugal, in May 2021.
“They applauded the recent formation of the India-EU Trade and Technology Council, which would enhance high-level coordination on strategic elements of trade, technology, and security,” according to the statement.
India and France have a strong economic relationship, with bilateral trade at USD 7.86 billion in 2020-21 and cumulative FDI worth USD 9.83 billion since April 2000.
In India, over a thousand French companies operate in sectors such as defense, IT, consultancy, engineering services, and heavy industries. More than 7,000 people work for more than 150 Indian enterprises in France.