Describing the negative impact of the conflict and pandemic on the Global South as a matter of concern, Modi said it’s important for all countries to join hands and together resolve these issues.
The Modi-Macron summit saw the 2 leaders signing a joint statement that will set the course for bilateral ties till 2047 and announcing continuation of cooperation on fighter jets and also submarines. In all, there were 63 outcomes but there was no mention among these of the proposed and much anticipated agreement for the purchase of Rafale-M aircraft by Indian Navy even though both sides welcomed the timely delivery earlier of the Rafale aircraft to the Indian Air Force. A roadmap on Indo-Pacific with focus on cooperation in third countries, agreements in space cooperation, civil nuclear energy, counter-terrorism, critical technology and civil aviation were among the significant takeaways from the visit. Student mobility was another focus area with France announcing that it’s looking forward to welcoming 30,000 Indian students by 2030.
We believe that all such problems should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. India is ready to contribute to lasting peace,’’ said Modi, standing alongside Macron who announced earlier this week delivery of long-range cruise missiles by France to Ukraine in the war against Russia.
Speaking before Modi, Macron had said that India and France had common concern about the risk of fragmentation of the international community, particularly in the context of Russia’s war in Ukraine. “We share the objective of seeking lasting peace and responding to the effects of this war of aggression on the most vulnerable countries, particularly in terms of food security and financing capacity,’’ said Macron.
Modi also raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in his remarks saying both India and France agreed it was important to take strong action to check the menace.
With Modi’s visit all set to see signing of significant agreements in the defence sector, including the purchase of Rafale-M aircraft for the Indian Navy, the PM said defence cooperation was a foundational pillar of the relationship and reflected deep trust between India and France.
“France is a major partner in our Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiatives. We are going to talk today about the co-development and co-production of new technologies in defence,’’ said Modi.
Significantly, he also said that whether it’s the submarines or naval ships, the 2 countries would like to also cater to the needs of third, friendly countries. “There is a possibility of increasing cooperation between our defence, space agencies. We want to further strengthen our defence cooperation,’’ said Modi.
Despite France not being a member of Quad, India sees France as an indispensable partner in the Indo-Pacific and Modi further highlighted the significance of Paris in its approach to the region as he said that, as resident powers, India and France shared the responsibility to ensure peace and security in the region. He said the 2 countries were working on an Indo-Pacific roadmap including a proposal for a triangular development cooperation fund.
While thanking Macron for the Bastille Day invite, Modi said the day was known to cherish values like liberty, equality and fraternity and that the same values formed the basis of relations between the 2 democracies, India and France.
After the meeting, the 2 leaders also addressed a CEO forum in which they discussed ways to ramp up trade and investment ties.