India, France discuss boosting cooperation, greater collaboration in diverse sectors
India and France on Tuesday discussed the possibility of boosting cooperation in diverse sectors such as trade and investment, defence and security, health, education, energy and climate change, and working jointly in the Indo-Pacific.
These matters figured in talks between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his visiting French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is on an official visit to India during April 13-15. Le Drian will also participate in the Raisina Dialogue, the external affairs ministry’s annual flagship conference.
During their meeting, the two sides “recognised the importance of fast-tracking the discussions on an India-EU trade and investment agreement” in order to tap the full potential of bilateral trade, the external affairs ministry said in a statement. India’s trade with France has seen a steady rise in the past decade, touching $10.75 billion in 2020.
“In the context of the changes in a Covid-impacted world, both ministers recognised the immense opportunities for greater collaboration in diverse sectors such as trade and investments, defence and security, health, education, research and innovation, energy and climate change,” the statement said.
Jaishankar and Le Drian discussed regional and global issues and reiterated their shared commitment to a multi-polar world and multilateralism. They also explored ways to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, including through the India-France-Australia trilateral mechanism, and addressing emerging challenges in the maritime and space domains.
In the area of climate action, India welcomed France’s decision to take up the “maritime resources” pillar of New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
“A comfortable, substantive and productive discussion with FM @JY_LeDrian. India and France will advance their shared post-COVID agenda through close collaboration,” Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.
Le Drian will also participate in a panel discussion on climate change along with environment and climate change minister Prakash Javadekar. In the second leg of his tour, he will visit the National Centre for Biological Sciences and the Indian Space Research Organisation in Bengaluru on April 15.
During an event held at the French embassy, Le Drian appointed 15 “alumni ambassadors” from the France Alumni network to boost student mobility between the two countries. He later interacted with French and Indian producers to boost bilateral cooperation in movies and television and to promote gender equality in cinema.