India, France have agreed to intensify cooperation in the Southwest Indian Ocean, building on the joint surveillance missions carried out from the French island territory of La Reunion in 2020 and 2022. The two countries also welcomed the extension of those interactions in India’s maritime neighbourhood. These interactions may contribute positively to the securitization of strategic sea lanes of communication, according to the India-France Joint Statement following French President Emmanuel Macron’s India visit for the Republic Day celebrations.
Prime Minister Modi and French President Macron reiterated their commitment to further deepen the long-standing partnership between the two countries, based on their common vision for the Indo-Pacific region.
The leaders emphasised the region’s significance for their respective sovereign and strategic interests. They also acknowledged the crucial role of their partnership in the region for the advancement of a free, open, inclusive, secure and peaceful Indo-Pacific and beyond.
Referring to the Comprehensive Roadmap for the Indo-Pacific, which was finalised in July 2023, they expressed satisfaction at the expanding nature of their engagement in the region.
As per the joint statement, the defence and security partnership has been the cornerstone of the India-France partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes a comprehensive range of bilateral, multinational, regional and institutional initiatives, especially in the Indian Ocean Region.
PM Modi, and French President Macron committed to revitalising the trilateral cooperation with Australia, deepening the one with UAE and exploring new ones in the region, the statement said.
Noting the importance of joint and multilateral initiatives, for supporting sustainable economic development, human welfare, environmental sustainability, resilient infrastructure, innovation and connectivity in the region, the two leaders asked their governments to identify concrete projects. Furthermore, the two leaders called for the early launching of the Indo-Pacific Triangular Development Cooperation Fund to facilitate the scaling up of green technologies being developed in the region, as per the joint statement.
They agreed to explore opportunities for coordinating economic projects and programmes in the Pacific. Both leaders acknowledged projects being carried out by the French Development Agency in India.
The two leaders recalled the launch of the India-Middle East-Europe Corridor (IMEC) on the margins of the G20 Summit in Delhi in September 2023. President Macron congratulated Prime Minister Modi for his leadership in this historic initiative. The two leaders agreed that this project would be of great strategic importance and would significantly enhance the potential and resilience of the flow of commerce and energy between India, the Middle East and Europe.
Prime Minister Modi welcomed the appointment of President Macron’s Special Envoy for the project. The two leaders further recalled their discussions in their July Summit in Paris on various other connectivity projects from Southeast Asia to the Middle East and Africa and agreed to explore specific projects.
PM Modi, Macron reiterated their call for reformed and effective multilateralism to sustain an equitable and peaceful international order, address pressing global challenges and prepare the world for emerging developments, including in the technological and economic domains.
The two leaders stressed, in particular, the urgent need for the reform of the United Nations Security Council and called for the early commencement of text-based negotiations at the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) in the UN.
France reiterated its firm support for India’s permanent membership of the UNSC. The two leaders agreed to strengthen conversations on regulation of use of the veto in case of mass atrocities. The two leaders agreed that the G20 Summit in Delhi and the Paris Global Financing Summit had underlined the need for the reform of Multilateral Development Banks to make them better, bigger and more effective, to able to address the related issues of development and climate in developing and least developed countries.
They welcomed the report submitted by the Independent Expert Group constituted under the Indian G20 Presidency for providing concrete suggestions in this regard. They also acknowledged enhanced cooperation between the Paris Club and India in official debt restructuring cases, according to the joint statement.