In this period of PM Modi, France has Replaced Russia as India’s New Best Friend:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting France for his third state visit and fourth trip. PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron are expected to debate a scope of issues ranging from trade and economics to energy security, counter-terrorism, defence and security cooperation and collaboration in the Indo-Pacific.
Now,France is likely to replaced Russia as India’s trustworthy friend and partner within the Western world.
Though France’s stock is presently high in Delhi after it supported India’s stand on Kashmir at the UNSC closed-door meeting called by China. The French have also previously backed the UNSC resolution on global terrorist Masood Azhar and pushed for stronger FATF sanctions on Pakistan.
Filling in Russia’s emptiness:
During the Cold War, the former Soviet Union was India’s veto-providing friend in the UN Security Council. It was the country who understood India’s national security interests, especially with reference to Pakistan and Kashmir. Soviet Union(Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) also provided India with economic assistance and defence equipment.
India and France have built a intense economic, security and diplomatic relationship over the previous couple of decades that has spanned the conflict era and strengthened within the last decade or two. France has become the new Russia – the new ally .
Now, France’s stock is presently high in Delhi after it supported India’s stand on Kashmir at the UNSC.
For a rustic that values symbolism the maximum amount as India does, the importance of France is noticeable therein it's the sole country whose presidents are chief guests at India’s Republic Day ceremony for a record five times (1976, 1980, 1998, 2008 and 2016). Both old ally Russia/Soviet Union and close neighbour Bhutan come second, and only one US President has ever been a Republic Day guest – Barack Obama, in 2015.
As a former-colonial country, India’s connection with former colonial power, The uk , is conflicted. While there's a robust diaspora linkage also as an economic and security relationship, New Delhi is usually sceptical about London understanding Indian concerns especially when it comes to issues like terrorism, Pakistan and Kashmir.
So, throughout the dispute years, India needed a helper– with veto power- on the safety Council – which was Soviet Union . Today, Russia has closer relations with China and isn't as cognisant of India’s interests especially when it involves Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism. France appears to own moved into the Russian emptiness.
A friend at the UN and NSG
India’s connection with France, another former colonial power, has less baggage. France established diplomatic relations with India in 1947, the 2 countries signed a treaty in 1956 under which in 1962 France ceded full sovereignty over its colonial territories. From 1963 onwards, Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam became part of the Union Territory of Pondicherry (now Puducherry). This was in sharp contrast to France’s European neighbour Portugal, which was reluctant to cede its colonies (Goa, Daman and Diu) resulting in an acrimonious relationship ending within the Indian military takeover of Goa in 1961.
Among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, France has been consistent in supporting India’s bid for permanent membership of the UNSC. The two also share an identical goal on issues like global climate change . India is a signatory to the Paris agreement of 2015.
France was also among the few countries that did not condemn India’s nuclear tests in 1998 and instead chose to start a strategic dialogue with India that resulted in a strong strategic partnership within the areas of space, security, defence and civil nuclear cooperation. Going back to the Cold War era, when in response to India’s nuclear explosion of 1974 the US suspended delivery of nuclear fuel to the Indian atomic power station at Tarapur, France stepped in to supply enriched uranium.
In September 2008, three weeks after India received a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to conduct civilian nuclear trade and two days after the US-India civil nuclear deal was ratified by the Congress , France and India signed an agreement for civil nuclear cooperation. France has also backed up India’s bid to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Partners in defence
Defence cooperation between the 2 countries is multi-dimensional with institutional exchanges, joint production, joint military exercises and training. The 3 Indian services bear regular annual military exercises with their French counterparts. In July 2009, a 400-strong Indian armed force contingent participated in the Bastille Day Parade, France’s national day parade, with then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in attendance. This was the first time Indian troops had participated in the national day parade of another country.
France is one of the leading suppliers of military equipment to India with the Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter, a squadron of DCNS Scorpène-class submarines (called Kalvari-class submarines) and 36 Rafale jets being at the top of the list.
At the top of the day, however, India’s goal is to create its domestic defence industry and for that, the us or Russia are still India’s partners of choice, especially from the purpose of view of high-end technology and foreign investment.
Bilateral trade between India and France stands at €10.7 billion, with over 1,000 French companies in India amassing a turnover of US$ 20 billion and 120 Indian companies in France with an investment stock of €1 billion. While the 2 countries are strong economic partners, when India sees France, it views it as a neighborhood of Europe. The European Union is India’s largest bilateral trading partner with €115 billion traded annually in goods and services.
The two countries also are collaborating within the Indo-Pacific where France has overseas territories and an exclusive economic zone. Eight thousand French soldiers are stationed within the Indo-Pacific and France has many military facilities, including in Réunion.
Like Japan, France is another country India is comfortable working with as there's no baggage or mistrust.
The two countries share a similar strategic outlook. Both have a powerful sense of national pride in their civilisational and cultural heritage. Both share a healthy scepticism of yank policies, and while both are American partners, both believe issue-based agreement or disagreement. Independence in policy deciding – or strategic autonomy as India refers thereto – are some things that France is comfortable with.
India and France have an old connections and their strategic partnership will be nourish during PM Modi’s visit. However, it's the military and economic rise of China and therefore the fear of an isolationist America that underlines each country’s look for friends and allies round the world.
India and France signed a logistics agreement in march 2018,whereby the 2 countries would open their naval bases to every other’s warships for refuelling, repair and birthing facilities. The two countries are also collaborating in Francophone Africa with the aim of identifying developmental activities that the two could work on together.