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. This partnership focuses on several areas of cooperation: civilian nuclear energy, counter-terrorism, spatial 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, correspond directly to this partnership.
In 2019, 8,530 French nationals were on the consular register in India.
French Consulates in India: Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata and Pondicherry/Chennai.
Regular meetings between Indian and French authorities fuel an in-depth, long-term political dialogue. Prime Minister Modi travelled to France in June 2017 and in August 2019 (bilateral meeting in Chantilly and participation in the G7 summit in Biarritz). The President of the Republic 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 the foreign ministers during the health crisis.
French Ambassador to India: Mr Emmanuel Lenain - Twitter: @FranceinIndia
Indian Ambassador in France: Mr Jawed Ashraf
Economic relations between France and India (goods exchanged amounted to €11.5 billion in 2019) are uneven, with the balance weighing heavier on India’s side. France ranks 25th among countries supplying India, with a 1% market share, and is its 15th-largest customer. The aviation, chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries represent a significant portion of French exports to India. However, the success of the aviation sector is not enough to compensate for the growing deficit due to refined petroleum purchases. France is among India’s leading foreign investors, with foreign direct investment stock of €5.5 billion at the end of 2018 (6th-largest G20 investor). Today, more than 540 subsidiaries of French companies covering a wide range of sectors are present there and employ 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 twenty cities (metro, water supply, etc.)
Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation
The development of academic, scientific and technical cooperation is also 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 builds 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 the development of joint research laboratories in promising areas of research such as neuroscience and chemistry.
France and India are strengthening their cooperation for the environment and the fight against climate change. The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) started working in India in 2008, and has a mandate focused on the preservation of global public goods. The International Solar Alliance (ISA), jointly launched by France and India in November 2015 during COP21, promotes the development of solar energy. Following its founding summit, held in India in March 2018 during the visit to the country by the French President, it held its first general assembly in October 2018. The blue economy and coastal resilience are shared priorities for France and India, which intend to strengthen cooperation in the field of marine scientific research and their mutual knowledge of the oceans.
India and France organize reciprocal festivals, aiming to promote their culture: in France, the Namasté France festival showcased India in late 2016, while in India, Bonjour India was held in late 2017-early 2018. India will be a guest of honour at the Paris Book Fair in 2021, while France will be a guest of honour at the New Delhi World Book Fair in 2022.
Updated: 15 September 2020