Relations between India and France were reinforced with the creation of the Strategic Partnership in 1998, which demonstrates the ties of friendship and trust between the two countries. Regular meetings between Indian and French authorities fuel an in-depth, long-term political dialogue. The President of the French Republic made a state visit to India on 14-15 February 2013 and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development visited India on 5 February and 20 November 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited France on 10-11 April 2015.
The volume of bilateral trade, after a strong recovery in 2010 (+30.7%), fell in 2011 (+5.8%), 2013 (€7.1 billion) and 2014 (€7.9 billion). In 2015, French-Indian trade amounted to €8.6 billion.
French exports amounted to €3.2 billion in 2015 and imports from India increased to €5.4 billion, reducing our trade deficit by 12.7% (Source: French Directorate-General of the Treasury - DGT). Our market share is falling (0.8% in 2015) mainly due to the postponement of certain deliveries in the aviation sector. The EU-India Free Trade Agreement, if concluded soon, could enable a rebalancing of civilian trade.
France is among the three leading foreign investors in India. Today, more than 1000 French companies covering a wide spectrum of sectors are established in India and employ approximately 300,000 people (against 240,000 in 2012). The capital stock invested by those companies in India is reported to amount to around €20 billion. France and India signed an intergovernmental agreement on sustainable urban development in Paris on 5 October 2012. Under the agreement, France is taking an active part in implementing the Smart Cities sustainable urban development programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.
The development of academic, scientific and technical cooperation with India is also a priority for France. In the academic field, the number of Indian students in France is approximately 3000, rising steadily as it has more than doubled over the last five years. French efforts cover two areas: scholarship programmes and partnerships between Indian and French institutions.
Scientific and technical cooperation is another key area of our partnership. This cooperation builds on structures bringing together French and Indian researchers and scientists, such as the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR), which celebrated its 25th anniversary in February 2012; and the development of joint research laboratories in promising areas of research such as neurosciences and chemistry, the two French institutes in Delhi and Pondicherry, and research clubs (bringing together 10,000 to 20,000 French researchers in the private sector) supplement our presence.
Finally, France and India also agreed to enhance their cooperation in the field of the environment and the fight against climate change, through the activities of the Franco-Indian working group on the environment and the establishment of the French Development Agency in India in 2008 with a mandate focused on the preservation of global public goods.