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Examining the India-France Partnership’s Blue Initiative


The 25th anniversary of India and France’s strategic partnership presents a significant opportunity for both countries to reflect on their relationships.


GS Paper-2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and affecting India’s interests; India- France Relation

Mains Question

With success, India and France have concluded their 25-year strategic partnership. List the areas where France and India cooperate. (250 Words)

Key Points

  • Since its establishment in 1998, the long-standing strategic partnership has accelerated due to the two countries’ shared values, aspirations for peace, stability, and—most importantly—their desire for strategic autonomy.
    • France is the 11th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative investment of $10.31 billion from April 2000 to June 2022, which represents 1.70% of the total foreign direct investment inflows into India.
  • France has emerged as a key trading partner of India with annual trade of $12.42 billion in 2021–22.

India-France Partnership

  • India and France have a strong partnership in the defence sector, with France emerging as India’s second-largest defence supplier between 2017 and 2021.
  • A key example of this is the introduction of the French Scorpene conventional submarines, which are being built in India under a technology transfer agreement from 2005, and the Indian Air Force’s acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets. France has also increased military-to-military engagement.
    • The extensive network of military consultations and frequently held joint exercises, Varuna (navy), Garuda (air force), and Shakti (army), further solidify these ties (army).
      • Mutual Cooperation at the Global Level: o Both nations have worked to deepen and expand their cooperation as the complexity of the global geopolitical order has grown.
  • France was one of the first nations with which India signed a civil nuclear agreement, and it was crucial in preventing India from becoming too isolated in the non-proliferation order following the 1998 nuclear tests.
    • France supports India’s application for permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council and its admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group as a sign of growing cooperation.
      • Cooperation on Climate Change: This issue is crucial for both countries, and India backed France in the Paris Agreement to demonstrate its commitment to reducing the effects of climate change.
    • In 2015, New Delhi and Paris established the International Solar Alliance as a part of their collaborative efforts to combat climate change.
      • Maritime Cooperation: Their maritime cooperation demonstrates how their strategic partnership is deepening.
  • India and France are permanent nations in the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean, respectively.
    • The “Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region,” which provided a roadmap for closer ties, was warmly received by the governments of both nations.
    • As both nations have expressed their shared vision for a free, fair, and open Indo-Pacific, maritime security has gained momentum.
    • India and France agreed in September 2022 to establish an Indo-Pacific Trilateral Development Cooperation Fund, which will support sustainable innovative solutions for nations in the region, as both nations share a comprehensive strategy for the Indo-Pacific.
    • To ensure maritime domain awareness and security from the east coast of Africa to the far Pacific, the two partners have established a trilateral grouping with the United Arab Emirates.
      • Russia-Ukraine Crisis: o Despite differences in opinion regarding the Ukraine crisis, both nations have a good understanding of one another’s viewpoints and are coordinating to play a helpful role in the crisis.
    • Notable among the few world leaders who have kept lines of communication open with the presidents of Russia and Ukraine are Mr. Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Way forward

  • The partnership between France and India is based on shared values and objectives.
    • Both have emphasised the significance of upholding strategic independence with a common understanding of global risks in numerous fields.
  • A high-level political dialogue between India and France is currently taking place in the areas of defence, maritime, counterterrorism, and the Indo-Pacific.
  • In areas like digitisation, cyber, green energy, a blue economy, ocean sciences, and space, they are now moving forward with cooperation.
  • France and India are aware of one another’s interests and reliances, whether they pertain to China or Russia.


There is still much room for cooperation in light of the long-standing strategic partnership and shared interest in boosting strategic autonomy and resilience.

February 2024