France and India pledge further cooperation
India – Statements by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, in his joint declaration with Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India (excerpts)
Chantilly, 22 August 2019
(Check against delivery)
Prime Minister, cher Narendra,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome you here to Chantilly, to this château, for your second visit to France in two years and the first since your re-election. (…) A few months ago you were re-elected as leader of the world’s largest democracy: 900 million Indians went to the polls and expressed a clear choice. It’s a victory for you, and I congratulate you on it once again, but it’s also a sign of democratic vitality in India, the world’s most highly-populated country, in a region where the values we share – respect for pluralism, rights and freedoms – don’t exist everywhere and must be constantly defended. (…)
India’s participation in the G7 summit in Biarritz, which I wanted, was in fact essential, in my view. It’s part of the recomposition of the international system that we must work on, because today – on challenges such as fighting climate change, protecting biodiversity and protecting our freedoms in cyberspace – it’s impossible not to reckon with India in the world we live in, for the very reasons I’ve just mentioned.
We decided on this approach of fully involving India in the responsibilities of global governance for the G7 summit, just as we’re promoting it at the United Nations Security Council by supporting its accession to permanent member status. I believe very profoundly that the trust existing between our two countries, and our shared commitment both to our independence and to building strong multilateralism, form an essential alliance when it comes to taking up today’s challenges and obtaining results together.
We’ve also demonstrated this on issues as important as the Paris Agreement on the climate, where, following the American withdrawal in June 2017, when the whole world might have doubted our ability to maintain a degree of ambition, we not only confirmed what had been decided and endorsed together but also established together in Delhi the International Solar Alliance, which 73 countries have now joined.
In this same spirit of trust, shared responsibility and ambition, Prime Minister Modi today confirmed to me his support for the priorities we’ll be upholding in Biarritz on this issue. On the climate and biodiversity first of all, India – which is on track to achieving its national targets – has confirmed its support for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement by agreeing to raise this level of ambition, but also by pledging to present a long-term decarbonization strategy next year. India is joining in the efforts we’re going to make to promote cleaner and more efficient refrigeration systems in order to strengthen the Kigali Amendment on HFCs, which is an important point we mentioned. We’re going to begin the work, and we must start a mobilization by all countries, as well as expert work to commit our economies to reducing these industries and these gases, expert work and a job of industrial transformation, and engage the other countries around us. This mobilization will begin at the G7 summit, and in this regard India’s commitment alongside us is essential. Lastly, India is lending its support to the Charter on Biodiversity adopted by the environment ministers in Metz, which is also an important point.
In my view, India’s commitment on these issues is absolutely essential, and given what the country represents and the past demonstrations we’ve managed to carry out together on the International Solar Alliance, it’s an extremely strong commitment, on the one hand, but it’s also a commitment we’re making to each other to build useful and concrete solutions to these issues. And what we’d like to do together with our partners, on reducing HFC gases and on biodiversity, is build a concrete agenda of alternative solutions. Here I want to thank Prime Minister Modi warmly for his spirit of responsibility and decisiveness. I think that in this regard, also given India’s presence at the G7 summit, the decisions we’ll endorse and the commitments we’re making in the field are historic, on issues where our fellow citizens are watching us. For our part, we’ll shoulder all our responsibilities too, in the areas of finance and technology transfer, and I confirmed to Prime Minister Modi the full mobilization of France to support India in the ambitious targets it’s set itself in terms of the ecological transition, renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure. And also France’s mobilization at the G7 summit to secure clear commitments to the Climate Fund, after working for the essential reform of its governance – a few weeks before the climate summit at the United Nations, where France has been given a mandate with Jamaica on the finance issue by the United Nations Secretary-General –, shows our concrete commitment to countries like India on the issue. (…)
We also discussed together the deepening of our strategic partnership and all our bilateral cooperation. (…) We actually noted significant progress made since my visit to India at the beginning of 2018, in accordance with the guidelines we set down. We’ve strengthened our maritime cooperation and our cooperation in the framework of the Indo-Pacific axis. Varuna, the Franco-Indian exercise off Goa in May, was also unprecedented in scale, with six vessels from each of our navies involved, including our aircraft carriers. Our space cooperation has also deepened, with new agreements signed this very day on the joint development of a maritime surveillance constellation, the training of Indian astronauts and France’s participation in the Indian mission to Venus. And I take the opportunity here to publicly congratulate India – I did so in our private meeting – on the launch of a mission to the moon on 22 July. As regards the fight against terrorism, we’re making active efforts together, following the Pulwama attack in February 2019, to ensure that those responsible for terrorist acts are clearly identified and listed by the United Nations, and in my view the results obtained are a clear victory for this Franco-Indian cooperation. We’ve also intensified our efforts in the framework of the initiative launched in France last year – No Money for Terror – to which India has provided active and effective participation.
Our defence and arms cooperation is also very solid, and I have to say it’s solid because it’s based on unshakeable trust and on France’s respect for the principles of Make in India, and above all on the fact that we share a strategic vision: the need to uphold stability in the region, combat terrorism and protect freedom and sovereignty everywhere, which is also central to our Indo-Pacific strategy. And so, in this respect and in this framework, we’ve obtained results. The delivery of India’s first Rafale, in a few weeks’ time and on time, will be an extremely important symbolic moment for this crucial cooperation, which is long-term. We also discussed all the naval and air cooperation projects, the various issues and the progress we intend to make together in the coming months as part of a state-to-state, government-to-government relationship, which is truly the structure we intend to give to the defence and arms cooperation between our two countries.
Finally, on civilian nuclear energy we’re making headway, and today we confirmed the goal of taking decisive steps on the Jaitapur project by the end of the year, in order to achieve a final agreement as soon as possible, and we’re on track: our manufacturers are mobilized, the cooperation projects wished for are being rolled out, and in September the experts will have active meetings to clear up the final details. Our desire is to make progress together on the matter. During this trip by Prime Minister Modi, we’re also signing a strategic partnership on cyber security and digital technology. (…) We discussed all our bilateral cooperation too. I stressed my desire for our economic cooperation to be more dynamic, and we’re on the right track: our economic exchanges have increased by 25% in two years. We’re going to establish a trade dispute resolution mechanism, and today we decided to step up our efforts in the fields of transport, sustainable cities and water. Lastly, our human exchanges are also full of momentum.
Today we’re endorsing a very significant cooperation agreement on vocational training, and the target we set in March 2018 during my visit to India – of 10,000 students hosted in France by 2020 – has been met this year. So there are two possible explanations for this phenomenon: either we were lacking in ambition, Prime Minister, or we did a very good job. It’s probably a bit of both, and so I’d like us to step things up, and we’ve therefore set a new target on the basis of this momentum: 20,000 students by 2025. Let me add that major events are ahead of us, particularly with India’s presence as guest of honour at the next [Paris] Book Fair and some very fine exhibitions in Delhi and Paris. Because of all this I say, Prime Minister, that just as France has chosen India, India has chosen France.
And I want to finish on this point: not only this strategic partnership – which covers the major international issues like the climate and several others – but also the strength of the bilateral and regional strategic partnership, and the heart of our Indo-Pacific partnership, rely on trust. This trust is felt above all at the most difficult moments, as was the case between our two countries in the past. It was on this basis that we had an in-depth and frank discussion of the Kashmir issue. The Prime Minister described to me the situation prevailing following India’s decision to abolish the special status of Jammu and Kashmir State. For my part, I recalled that it’s up to India and Pakistan to resolve their disputes in the bilateral framework, and that it’s the responsibility of the two parties to avoid any deterioration on the ground that might lead to an escalation, just as every effort must be made to put a stop to the organization of cross-border terrorist actions. Prime Minister Modi told me of the changes he’s made, for which he has full sovereignty as far as the legal aspects are concerned, but also his very firm commitment to maintaining stability in the region and actively combating all forms of escalation and any resurgence of terrorist activities. France will obviously remain mindful that the interests and rights of civilians are duly taken into account in the territories on either side of the Line of Control. We’re very committed to this spirit of pacification and dialogue, and we’re very committed to the effectiveness of this policy of stability and combating terrorism. That’s why, as I told Prime Minister Modi, I’ll also be having a discussion with the Pakistani Prime Minister in the coming days, to remind him too of France’s desire to see this issue dealt with in the bilateral framework, but also of France’s concern to protect stability in the region and the fight against all forms of terrorism. (…)./.