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France and India

Political relations

Relations between India and France were strengthened with the creation of the Strategic Partnership in 1998, which demonstrates the ties of friendship and trust between the two countries.

This partnership focuses on several areas of cooperation: civil nuclear energy, defence, counter-terrorism, space cooperation, cyber security and digital technologies.

The signing of an agreement for the supply of 36 Rafale aircraft in September 2016 and an industrial agreement in March 2018 to build six European pressurized water reactors (EPR) on the Jaitapur site are directly linked to this partnership.

French presence

In 2019, a total of 8,530 French nationals were on the consular register in India.
French Consulates in India: Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata and Puducherry/Chennai.

Visits

August 2019 (bilateral meeting in Chantilly and participation in the G7 summit in Biarritz). President Macron made a state visit to India from 9 to 12 March 2018.
In 2020, several remote meetings were organized between the Heads of State and Government and Foreign Ministers during the public health crisis.

The French Minister for the Ecological Transition, Ms Barbara Pompili, visited India from 28 January to 2 February 2021 to deepen bilateral cooperation on sustainable development and inaugurate the Indo-French Year of the Environment.

The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, visited India from 13 to 15 April 2021.

The Minister for the Armed Forces, Ms Florence Parly, travelled to India on 17 December 2021.

The Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, made a visit to France from 20 to 23 February 2022.

The French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Mr Franck Riester, visited India from 10 to 11 March 2022.

The French Minister Delegate for Transport, Mr Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, visited India from 24 to 26 March 2022.

Economic relations

Franco-Indian trade, which had been growing steadily, slowed considerably in 2020 in the context of the COVID-19 crisis (€9 billion as against €11.5 billion in 2019). France ranks 24th among countries supplying India, with a 1% market share, and is its 17th-largest customer. The aviation, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, along with communications equipment, represent a significant portion of French exports. France is among India’s leading foreign investors, with foreign direct investment stock of €9.8 billion at the end of 2020 (6th-largest G20 investor). Today, more than 540 subsidiaries of French companies are present there, covering a wide range of sectors and employing approximately 300,000 people.

France is cooperating with India as part of its “Smart Cities” programme. French companies in the sustainable urban development sector are already working in more than 20 cities (metro, water supply, etc.).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

The development of academic, scientific and technical cooperation is a priority. The number of Indian students studying in France reached 10,000 in 2019 (with an objective of 20,000 by 2025), supported by scholarship programmes and partnerships between Indian and French institutions.

The signing in March 2018 of an agreement on the recognition of diplomas and another on migration and mobility has increased the number of Indian students in France. Scientific and technical cooperation has been building on structures bringing together French and Indian researchers and scientists such as the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR) since 1987 and on joint research laboratories in promising areas of research such as neuroscience and chemistry.

India and France organize reciprocal festivals regularly, aiming to promote their culture: in France, the Namasté France festival, and in India, the Bonjour India festival.

Health cooperation

Solidarity between France and India could be seen at the height of the COVID-19 public health crisis, when India authorized an exemption for the export of many medicines to France. In return, France released assistance of €200 million from the AFD. At the request of the President Macron, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs was wholly dedicated to conducting an exceptional solidarity operation in support of the Indian people, who suffered greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

France and India continue to cooperate in the health field multilaterally via the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-1) and are working together to ensure that all means to fight the disease, including vaccines, are treated as global public goods.

Cooperation in the area of the environment

On climate, our countries co-founded theInternational Solar Alliance on the sidelines of COP21, and in July 2020 France joined the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), launched by India. This structure helps implement investment principles in high-quality G20 infrastructures and contributes to climate change adaptation.

In April 2021, France endorsed the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), launched in November 2019 by Prime Minister Modi, offering to take the role of lead partner of the Marine Resources pillar.

India is one of the signatory countries of the Brest Commitments for the Oceans, which, along with the Roadmap on the Blue Economy and Ocean Governance, adopted on 20 February 2022, were the culmination of the Indo-French Year of the Environment organized in 2021. On 20 February 2022, France and India launched a call in favour of an Indo-Pacific partnership on natural parks.

Updated: May 2022