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Translation of Press Statement by External Affairs Minister after meeting with Foreign Minister of France

December 15, 2018

French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian,
Friends from media,


I just had very useful and meaningful discussions with the Foreign Minister of France Mr. Le Drian. Discussions with a long standing friend of India has always been a pleasant experience. Our relations have always been benefited from their vast experience. Strategic relations between India and France are based on political uniformity, solidarity and mutual trust.

This visit of Minister Le Drian is representative of the high level exchanges between India and France this year. In fact, this is my second bilateral meeting with him in the last six months. It clearly shows how important the relationship between us is. I congratulated him and France for the commemorative celebrations of the ceasefire of World War I and the splendid hosting of the Paris Peace Forum last month.

As you know, our Hon'ble Vice President took part in these celebrations. During his visit, he also unveiled the Indian War Memorial in Villers-Guislain town of Northern France. Today we reviewed all aspects of bilateral relations between India and France, and exchanged views on global and multilateral issues.

We are implementing the outlined action in the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. This will not only benefit India and France, but also the other countries and stakeholders in this area.

Friends,

Defense cooperation between India and France is historical and comprehensive. It includes institutional exchanges, joint production, joint military exercises and training. As you know, our Defense Minister visited France in October which was a very useful visit. Now the two sides are working towards deepening and expanding these vast contacts, especially at the operational and service level.

In our discussions today, we reiterated our resolve to continue fighting against terrorism. In this field there is cooperation between us in international forums like FATF also.

Both sides are working towards starting the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project as soon as possible. We are happy that both sides have made considerable progress in pursuance of the Industrial Way Forward Agreement in 2018 between NPCIL and EDF. We have also adopted the Status of Progress for Implementation of Industrial Way Forward Agreement today.

Joint Vision of Space Cooperation is also the cornerstone of space cooperation between us. Space Agencies of both our countries are working hard in this direction. Recent launch of India's heaviest Satellite GSAT-11 is an outstanding example of our partnership in the space sector. On this occasion, I thank the Government of France and the Arianespace Satellite for all possible help provided to ISRO in successfully launch of this satellite.

Today India and France are among the leading countries in the world that are fighting against the climate change. Founding conference of the International Solar Energy Alliance (ISA) in New Delhi in March and its first General Assembly in October, has strengthened our resolve to achieve the highest objective of this work. Africa is a priority in the foreign policy of both the countries. Prime Minister Modi recently mentioned the principles of our relations with Africa. Second Indo-French dialogue held in connection with Africa on December 11, 2018, provided the opportunity to exchange our views about the latest developments in Africa and explore the possibilities of joint efforts to contribute toward peace and prosperity in Africa. We welcome the role played by French companies in Smart Cities, Clean Energy, Environment, Transport and Infrastructure sectors. Last year the bilateral trade between us stood at 9.62 billion euros. If we have to achieve the target of 15 billion euros by 2022, then we need to do work a lot more.

We wish to further increase our trade and investment links with France. Government of India is committed to provide business friendly environment to foreign companies in India. I am happy that the C-DAC of India and the ATOS of France have signed an agreement for the development of supercomputers in India.

Friends,

The agreement for mutual recognition of each other's degrees and the agreement of Migration and Mobility will help in achieving the target of ten thousand student exchanges by 2020. Celebrating the cultural festivals of India and France in each other countries has helped people to know, understand and appreciate our rich cultural heritage and historical links. I am delighted to know that International Yoga Day is celebrated every year in France and there are a large number of followers of yoga in France.

France has consistently supported India’s bid for membership in the United Nations Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group and we thank them for this support. Apart from this, we have discussed many issues of global and regional interests. Contributions made by Minister Le Drian in further strengthening India's strategic partnership with France are invaluable. We will be eagerly waiting for his next visit to India.

Thank you.

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