India-France Bilateral Relations


To prepare for INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know BILATERAL RELATIONS WITH DEVELOPED COUNTRIES. Here we will study about India-France Bilateral Relations. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Governance syllabus (GS-II.). India-France Bilateral Relations terms are important from Governance perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams. Even these topics are also highly linked with current affairs. Almost every question asked from them is related to current events. So, apart from standard textbooks, you should rely on newspapers and news analyses as well for these sections.

Basics and Backgrounds
  • As early as the 1980s, France wished to give greater scope to its relations with India. France bet on India’s strategic, diplomatic and economic emergence, and steadfastly supported India’s requestsin several strategic matters: a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, better participation in the decisions taken at international fora (such as the expanded G8 and G20), access to civil nuclear cooperation.
  • India and France have traditionally close and friendly relations. In 1998, the two countries entered into Strategic Partnership which is emblematic of their convergence of views on a range of International issues apart from a close and growing bilateral relationship.
  • The areas of Defence & Security cooperation, Space cooperation and Civil nuclear cooperation constitute the principal pillars of our Strategic Partnership with France. India and France are increasingly engaged in new areas of cooperation like security in the Indian Ocean region, climate change including the International Solar Alliance, and sustainable growth and development among others.
  • India and France share a close degree of convergence on a range of regional and global issues. In the economic domain, while there exists vast potential, French economic capacities, its business and industry, its capital and technologies have forged linkages with Indian economy and India’s developmental goals.
  • There exist vibrant bilateral cultural and educational linkages as also growing people-to-people contacts. Indian diaspora also has a sizable presence in France and in its overseas territories.


Area of Cooperation
  • Area of Cooperation
    • Political
    • Defence
    • Digital Space
    • Science & Tech
    • Bilateral Trade
    • Space Cooperation
    • Energy
    • Cultural Cooperation



  • Political cooperation between India and France is relatively new.
  • It began with French support for India in limiting international sanctions on Delhi after its 1998 nuclear tests.
  • Today, France has emerged as India’s most reliable partner on issues relating to terrorism and Kashmir; taking this forward would be crucial now.


Bilateral Trade
  • Both India and France have important bilateral investments & trade and commercial cooperation.
  • France has emerged as a major source of FDI for India with more than 1,000 French establishments already present in India with a total turnover of US $ 20 billion and employing around 300,000 persons.
  • France is the 9th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative investment of USD 6.59 billion from April 2000 to December 2018.
  • There are more than 150 Indian companies operating in France (including sub-subsidiaries), employing more than 7,000 persons.
  • The nations also reaffirmed that the India-France Administrative Economic and Trade Committee (AETC) provides an appropriate framework to assess and find ways to further promote the bilateral trade and investment as well as to speed up the resolution of market access issues to the benefit of economic operators.
  • The two leaders decided to further jointly strengthen work on solving trade and investment issues of concern for both French and Indian companies, including by additional ways and mechanisms.
  • The two leaders jointly agreed that the high-level France-India economic and financial dialogue should be reactivated as quickly as possible.

Defence Cooperation
  • India and France determined to further strengthen the cooperation between their armed forces and in this connection are working towards increased interoperability as well as pursuing deliberations to develop joint forces cooperation.
  • They welcomed the signing of an agreement regarding the Provision of Reciprocal Logistics Support.
  • Defence industrial cooperation has been one of the mainstays of the strategic partnership between India and France.
  • Both PM Modi and the French President commended the progress made in the implementation of agreements signed previously, particularly the delivery of the first Rafael fighter jet earlier this year.
  • The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen cooperation in defence industry field and extended their support to existing and upcoming partnerships between the defence companies of the two countries in the spirit of “Make in India” and for the mutual benefit of both countries.



Purchase of Rafale aircraft:

  • The Inter-governmental agreement for purchase of 36 Rafale jets by India in flyaway condition was signed in New Delhi on 23 September 2016 by Raksha Mantri Manohar Parrikar and French Defence Minister Le Drian.
  • Project implementation is underway.


P-75 Scorpene Project:

  • The contract for six Scorpene submarines from M/s DCNS was signed in October 2006.
  • All six vessels are to be built under technology transfer at the Mazagaon Docks Ltd. Project implementation is underway. The first submarine INS Kalvari was commissioned in October 2017.

Space Cooperation
  • India and France expressed their desire to deepen their space cooperation to meet new challenges in space exploration together, whether it concerns planetary exploration or human spaceflight.
  • Both PM Modi and Emmanuel Macron welcomed the decision to train medical support personnel for Indian astronauts, who will be part of India’s manned space mission by 2022. The training will be carried out both in France and in India.
  • The leaders further welcomed the signing of an Implementing Arrangement for the establishment of a framework for the realization of joint maritime domain awareness mission. They also welcomed the launch of a Space Climate Observatory that further enhances Indo-French cooperation on combating climate change, besides TRISHNA joint mission and accommodating Argos in Oceansat 3.
  • The two nations also resolved to act together at the international level to promote norms and best practices necessary for guaranteeing the safety of space missions.


Digital Space
  • The two leaders adopted cyber security and digital technology road map aimed at expanding Indo-French bilateral cooperation, particularly in the strategic sectors of high-performance computing and Artificial Intelligence, with the target of bringing the start-up ecosystems in both the nations closer to each other.
  • In recent visit, Cooperation Agreement was signed between the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing and Atos (a France based IT company) for developing cooperation in fields of quantum computing, Artificial Intelligence and exascale supercomputing.


  • PM Modi and Emmanuel Macron expressed satisfaction at the progress in negotiations between NPCIL and EDF since the conclusion of the Industrial Way Forward Agreement between the two parties in 2018 for the construction of six nuclear power reactors in India in Jaitapur, Maharashtra.
  • The leaders also noted that discussions are underway on the Techno-Commercial Offer and the financing of the project as well as on how to increase localization through manufacturing in India and enhance common understanding on the CLND Act between the two sides.


Civil Nuclear Cooperation
  • An agreement on civil nuclear cooperation was signed between India and France on 30 September 2008 during the visit of then PM to France. Subsequently, during the visit of then French President Nicolas Sarkozy to India in December 2010, the General Framework Agreement and the Early Works Agreement between NPCIL and M/s AREVA for the implementation of EPR for the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) were signed.
  • Following M/s AREVA’s restructuring, French utility EDF has now been designated as the lead agency from the French side for negotiations and implementation of the JNPP.
  • EDF and NPCIL signed a revised MoU on 22 March 2016 for the construction of six EPR units at Jaitapur of 1650 MWe each. 10.
  • During the visit of President Macron to India (March 2018), NPCIL and EDF concluded an Industrial Way Forward Agreement. Discussions between EDF and NPCIL have been ongoing with the objective of expeditious realization of the project.


  • The two leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border terrorism and terror-related incidents in France and India.
  • Both leaders reaffirmed that terrorism cannot be justified on any grounds whatsoever and it should not be associated with any religion, creed, nationality and ethnicity.
  • The leaders also reaffirmed their strong determination to eliminate terrorism wherever it is to be found and urged the international community to strengthen the efforts to counter and prevent terrorist financing.


Indian Ocean Region
  • India and France welcomed the swift implementation of the conclusions of the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, adopted during the State Visit to India of President Macron in March 2018.
  • For the implementation of the White Shipping agreement, India and France welcome the appointment of a French liaison officer at the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurugram.
  • The two nations further intend to coordinate their action at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and undertake, along with interested states, a joint project for reinforcing assets for combatting piracy and all kinds of maritime trafficking in the Southern Indian Ocean.
  • France also intends to work concertedly with India at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), over which it will preside from 2020 to 2022.
  • Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, that enables Indian naval warships to now seek access to the French naval base in Djibouti to refuel for an operational turnaround to return to Indian shores.



Cultural Cooperation
  • Indian culture enjoys wide following amongst the people of France. An Indian Cultural Centre, named Vivekananda Cultural Centre, is being opened in Paris.
  • The International Day of Yoga has been organized by the Embassy of India in Paris and other cities of France since 2016 and have received wide acclaim and press coverage.
  • Yearlong celebrations have also been organized to commemorate 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, 550th Birth Anniversary of Shri Gurunanak Devji and the 70th Year of the Constitution of India.
  • A Cultural Exchange Programme, initially for the period 2016 to 2018, continues and is under implementation. GoI has also offered five scholarships for study of Sanskrit in India to French nationals. Various other bilateral programmes of cultural cooperation are under implementation.


S&T Technology
  • In the field of S&T, the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advance Research (CEFIPRA) based in New Delhi established in 1987 is playing a major role by funding joint proposals for research in sciences and evaluation existing research projects.
  • Several other bilateral cooperation programmes exist including an Indo-French Ministerial-level Joint Committee on Science and Technology, established in 2016, whose first meeting was held in New Delhi in June 2018. 17.
  • Launch of 8-10 satellites as part of a “constellation” for maritime surveillance in the Indian Ocean region.
  • French Space Agency CNES concluded an agreement with ISRO for training programmes and bioastronautics for a human space flight – (Gaganyaan) by 2022.
  • It is estimated that there are about 10000 Indian students in France.
  • Encouraged by offer of courses in English medium in the French institutes of higher education, especially in the field of business management, about 3,000 new Indian students come to France every year.


Indian Diaspora
  • It is estimated that the Indian community, including NRIs in mainland France number around 109,000, largely originating from French enclaves of Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe and Chandernagore.
  • Sizeable number of Indian origin population lives in the French Overseas Territories of the Reunion Island (280,000), Guadeloupe (60,000), Maritinique (6,000) and Saint Martin (300).
  • There are more than 50 Indian community organizations active in France. Major communities constituting the Indian origin population originate from Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Punjab. 20.
  • The two sides signed a Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement which aims to facilitate temporary circular migration based on mobility and the encouragement for a return of skills to the home country.


Global Agendas
  • Climate change, biodiversity, renewable energy, terrorism, cyber security and digital technology, etc:
  • There have been joint efforts to limit climate change and develop the Solar Alliance
  • Both countries have agreed on a road map on cyber security and digital technology.


French presence in the Indo-Pacific
  • Islands of Réunion and Mayotte (Mozambique channel) in the Indian Ocean and New Caledonia and French Polynesia in the South Pacific.
  • France the largest EEZ in the world (11 million sq. km.)—62 % of which is in the Pacific and 24 % in the Indian Ocean.
  • Military presence in Djibouti and Abu Dhabi


UNSC reforms: France supports India’s permanent membership
  • India and France jointly call for reform of the United Nations Security Council that would enable India to gain a permanent seat on it.
  • They also reaffirmed their commitment to working expeditiously and constructively, together and with others towards the modernisation of the World Trade Organization, including in the lead-up to the 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2020.
  • Further, the two nations reaffirmed their determination to deepen the relations between the EU and India on strategic and multilateral issues as well as in trade, investment and innovation.


Mutual benefits
  • Indo-French naval cooperation is aimed at securing the critical sea lanes, the need to effectively combat security threats piracy, trans-national crime and terrorismand also to build security capacities in the Indian Ocean.
  • The more substantive pay-off of a nautical pact with France for India is a potential expansion of the Indian Navy’s operational footprint across the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Future discussions might result in the signing of a reciprocal agreement granting French naval vessels access to Indian ports for repair and resupply, and Indian vessels the right to routinely use France’s Indian Ocean military baseslike Djibouti where china has a base.
  • French facilities are likely to add to India’s network of nautical outposts in the IOR,including in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Seychelles, where India plans to build and operate a military base.
  • French companies, such as Dassault Aviation etc. are extremely competitive and the country’s defence industry has a reliable record of production and supplywith firms having particular expertise in navigating India’s defence market for instance the contracts for the Rafael aircraft and Scorpene Class Submarines (Project-75).
  • A nautical pact with France sends a strong message to India’s geopolitical antagonists in maritime Asia. India will be hoping for a closer engagement in the Western Indian Ocean, where France has one of the most forward-deployed armed forces in the world.
  • India’s naval leadership would be keen to expand the scope and complexity of the Indo-French bilateral naval exercise VARUNA
  • A partnership with the French navy in littoral South-East Asia would allow the Indian Navy to influence the security-dynamic of the Pacific, even extending operations to the Southern Pacific Islands.


  • While the governments share a robust relationship, the business relationships are weak.Bilateral trade is less than half of India’s trade with Germany. The target of €12 billion set in 2008 remains elusive.
  • French FDI has picked up in recent years, but hardly does justice to the fact that there are more than 800 French enterprises in India.


Way Forward
  • France also opens the pathway for deeper engagement with Europe on global issues.
  • Since independence, India has experimented with different institutions including the NAM and BRICS to shape global norms.
  • The new partnerships with France, Germany and other like-minded countries like Japan would hopefully be significant for India’s influence on the global stage.
  • French social security laws, long-term student visas, and the facility to work for two-three years to pay off student loans are some of the areas that need to be worked out so that more effective cooperation can take place between the two countries.
  • France, which had sought strategic autonomy within the framework of its alliance with the US, and India, which has valued independent foreign policy, are natural partnersin building the new coalitions for an uncertain era.
  • France also opens the pathway for deeper engagement with Europeon global issues, especially after uncertainty in the region due to BREXIT.
  • Even though above specified areas provided a robust basis for engagement, it remained primarily at a government-to-government level. In recent years, it was clear that for a wider partnership, strengthening business-to-business and people-to-people relationships was essential.


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     PWOnlyIAS is NOW at three new locations Mukherjee Nagar ,Lucknow and Patna , Explore all centers     Download UPSC Mains 2023 Question Papers PDF  Free Initiative links -1) Download Prahaar 3.0 for Mains Current Affairs PDF both in English and Hindi 2) Daily Main Answer Writing  , 3) Daily Current Affairs , Editorial Analysis and quiz ,  4) PDF Downloads  UPSC 2022 Final Result🔥5 out of Top 10 from PW OnlyIAS Community. UPSC Prelims 2023 Trend Analysis cut-off and answer key

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