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France and India

Bilateral relations

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 French President thus made a State visit to India from 9 to 12 March 2018, emphasizing the strengthening of our strategic partnership, our commitments to combating climate change, and our common desire to develop human exchanges and encourage mobility between France and India. The visit to France by the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Ms Sushma Swaraj, on 18 and 19 June 2018, helped take stock of progress on these key themes.

Trade between France and India has produced a structural deficit for France since the 2008 crisis. This trade now represents around €14 billion (30% of which in services) and is rebalancing: in 2016, France posted a smaller deficit with India (€776 million), largely explained by the aeronautics sector (the most buoyant sector on the French side) and falling commodities prices. The coverage ratio of our imports in goods (more than 90%) is better than that of services (80%). France’s market share in India stands at 1.3%.

France is among the top foreign investors in India. Today, more than 1,000 French companies across a wide range of sectors are working there and employ approximately 300,000 people. The foreign direct investment stock of French companies in India reportedly stands at around €20 billion. France and India signed an agreement on sustainable urban development in Paris on 5 October 2012. Under the agreement, France is taking part in implementing the Smart Cities sustainable urban development programme.

The development of academic, scientific and technical cooperation with India is also a priority for France. There are almost 5,000 Indians studying in France, more than twice as many as five years ago. French efforts cover two areas: 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 should further increase 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. The two Instituts Français in Delhi and Pondicherry round out our presence.

Finally, France and India are enhancing 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 Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in India in 2008 with a mandate focused on the preservation of global public goods. The International Solar Alliance, jointly launched by France and India in November 2015 during COP21 in Paris, promotes the development of solar energy and gained new momentum in March 2018 with the holding of its founding summit in India, during the visit to the country by the French President.

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.

For more information, visit the website of the French Embassy in India

Updated: 26 June 2018