India and France have set ambitious goals in the areas of defence, space, and nuclear energy
In a move reinforcing strong bilateral ties, India and France have released a joint statement outlining extensive cooperation across multiple sectors.

The statement, issued after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron held a luncheon meeting during the G20 Summit in New Delhi on Sunday (September 10, 2023) reflects a commitment to shared values, future-oriented collaboration, and an unwavering drive towards global betterment.

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - Setting the Global Tone

The ancient Indian ethos of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,’ which translates to ‘one earth, one family, one future,’ finds an echo in the Indo-French commitment.

Both countries, despite their geographical distance, have championed this concept in their bilateral relations. The emphasis on inclusiveness, understanding, and mutual growth has permeated their collaborative ventures, in technology, defense, and cultural exchanges.

This principle has been particularly evident in their shared vision for a sustainable future, joint endeavors in green technology, and their collective stance on global peace and security. 

Landmark Initiatives: The ‘Horizon 2047’ and Indo-Pacific Roadmap

Among the key outcomes of Prime Minister Modi's visit to France in July this year was the unveiling of the 'Horizon 2047' Roadmap. This ambitious blueprint outlines the trajectory of Indo-French ties over the next two decades, touching upon strategic areas of collaboration and setting clear milestones.

The Indo-Pacific Roadmap finalised during the same visit emerges as another cornerstone of the Indo-French strategic partnership. With the Indian Ocean's strategic importance rising, both nations have emphasized the necessity of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. This roadmap, while consolidating defense and maritime security ties, also emphasizes the sustainable development of the region's island nations, ensuring their collective growth and security.

New goals discussed

Determined to leverage their strengths and shared visions, India and France have set ambitious goals spanning a myriad of sectors, including defence, space, and nuclear energy. 

The joint statement between India and France is more than a document; it's a testament to an evolving relationship, one built on mutual respect, shared values, and a firm commitment to global well-being. The key takeaways include:

1. Defense - Both leaders reiterated their commitment to strengthen the defence cooperation through partnership in design, development, testing and manufacture of advanced defence technologies and platforms, and expand production in India, including for third countries in Indo-Pacific and beyond. In this context, they also called for early finalisation of the Defence Industrial Roadmap.

2. Space - The two leaders recalled six decades of India-France Space cooperation and reviewed the progress since holding of the first Strategic Space Dialogue in June 2023, the joint statement said.

3. Nuclear Energy - The two leaders acknowledged the strong India-France civil nuclear ties, good progress in the discussion for the Jaitapur nuclear plant project and welcomed the continuing engagement of both sides to expand bilateral cooperation to establish a partnership for co-developing SMR and AMR technologies as well as the forthcoming signature of a dedicated declaration of intent. France reiterated its steadfast and unwavering support for India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

4. Strengthening instititional linkages -  Laying emphasis on areas such as digital, science, technological innovation, education, culture, health and environment cooperation, both leaders called for strengthening of institutional linkages in these domains, on the model of the Indo-French Campus for the Indo-Pacific. In this context, they also reaffirmed commitment to expand cultural exchanges and work together in development of museums, the Joint Statement said. 

The two nations are already collaborating in areas like Digital Public Infrastructure & Critical Technology. In a digital age, both nations are collaborating on robust digital infrastructure, emphasizing data security and fostering innovations in critical technologies.

Additionally, a shared commitment to a sustainable future has driven both countries to undertake joint initiatives in renewable energy, climate resilience, and sustainable urban development.

Recognizing the potential of their youth, India and France are deepening educational ties, promoting student exchanges, joint research, and academic collaboration. 

Beyond strategic and technological collaborations, fostering people-to-people contacts has been pivotal. This underscores the shared belief that real relationships are built when people understand, respect, and learn from each other's cultures and histories.

In the G20 and Beyond

The Indo-French partnership's significance transcends its bilateral nature. In the context of the G20, it stands as a testament to what nations can achieve when they come together with shared values, clear strategic visions, and an openness to holistic collaboration.

As the G20 navigates the complexities of the 21st century, the India-France model offers a beacon - illuminating the path of mutual respect, shared progress, and global stability. Other member nations would do well to draw inspiration, ensuring that the G20 remains not just an economic forum but a platform for global betterment.