Last week, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his Europe trip in France, where he met the country’s newly elected President, Emmanuel Macron. Climate change and commitment to counter growing terrorism were the key topics of discussion at the meeting held at the Élysée Palace.

Fighting Terrorism

Even as disheartening incidents of terror have increased across the world, the two leaders spoke at length on how to fight terror and reaffirmed cooperation to stand united against it. In recent years, France has had to face terrorist attacks in Nice as well as Paris.

“Terrorism is visible and it affects the entire world, including France and India. The world needs to unite to defeat the menace of terrorism," Modi said. Adding that the two countries agreed to fight terrorism in all its forms.

Tackling Climate Change

In the wake of President Trump opting out of the Paris Agreement signed by 195 nation states, the two leaders emphasised their commitment to fight climate change. President Macron’s response to the US’s exit from the deal, including a statement that said, ‘Make our planet great again,’ gathered worldwide attention. While Prime Minister Modi at the meeting stated that "Paris climate agreement is a shared legacy of the world. It will benefit future generations as well." He further added that "We have natural resources because our previous generations protected these resources. We must do the same for our future generations,"

France is India’s ninth-largest investment partner. The two countries share cordial bilateral ties in various sectors such as defence, innovation, renewable energy, education and technology. In the defence sector, India finalised a deal ordering 36 Rafale fighter jets last year. However, it is the area of sustainable development and clean energy that is particularly important in Indo-French bilateral ties. Both the countries have teamed up on several sustainable efforts.

Teaming Up on Solar Energy

France and India are key members of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) which was formed in Paris during COP21. While the agreement was signed in France, ISA is headquartered in New Delhi. The project aims to raise more than a trillion dollars by 2030. Solar energy produced under the project by over 100 countries will be offered to poor countries.

Working Together on Smart Cities

Indian cities have also invited the cooperation of various French agencies in the areas of urban infrastructure, water management and transport. In fact, France and India are collaborating on three smart cities – Chandigarh (planned by architect Le Corbusier), the erstwhile French colony of Pondicherry, and Nagpur. France’s public financial institution Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) aims to financially and technically assist Indian cities in three key areas: clean energy, sustainable urban development and protection of biodiversity.

During Prime Minister Modi’s previous visit to France, France committed to doubling its AFD credit line from $1.09 billion for 3 years to Euro 2 billion to help sustainable urban development.

Ten French companies so far have signed agreements with EPI (Engineering Projects India Ltd.), a public company owned by the government of India. The companies are participating in projects pertaining to the Smart Cities Mission especially in areas such as public transport infrastructure, energy and water solutions for cities.

President Macron has promised to visit India by the end of the year, a step that will further strengthen bilateral bonds between India and France. Owing to the ties shared by France and India, India offers a range of collaboration opportunities to French companies, particularly in the area of sustainable development.

Picture Credits: The New Indian Express

Arsha Consulting’s bilingual Indo-French team specialises in helping French companies do business in India. If you are a French company looking to foray into the Indian market, do get in touch with our senior consultants. 

Elizabeth Raj | Blogger

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