French President Visits India

iasparliament
March 13, 2018
3 months
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What is the issue?

  • French President Emmanuel Macron is currently on bilateral visit to India.
  • Agreements on deepening mutual cooperation across sectors like - Defence, Solar and Nuclear Power were sealed.  

What are the major outcomes?

  • The pioneering agreement for “India-France strategic partnership” was signed in 1998, and relationships have been in good shape since.
  • Currently, a “Joint Vision Statement” on the Indian Ocean Region was issued, which clearly aimed at countering China’s growing presence in the region.
  • A “reciprocal logistics support” agreement (Defence) was also signed, which is an indication of the diversifying strategic partnerships for both countries.
  • While multiple previous deadlines have slipped, a recommitment for starting the “Jaitapur nuclear power plant” has now been made.
  • Commitments towards the “International Solar Alliance” (ISA) and joint ventures on climate change cooperation were reiterated.

How prospective is the “International Solar Alliance” (ISA)?

  • ISA was proposed jointly by India and France in the backdrop the “Paris Climate Talks” or CoP 21.
  • With 61 countries already onboard the ISA, India and France are clearly promising an alternative leadership model for the less developed world.  
  • This is significant in the face of U.S. pullout from the Paris Climate Accord and the greater vulnerability of poorer countries to climate change. 
  • ISA is oriented towards sunshine countries (between the tropics), and it focuses on Project financing and technical assistance.
  • While it has been estimated that $1 trillion is needed to meet the ISA targets, India and France have thus far committed $1.4 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively.
  • Challenges - India’s solar power tariff is around Rs. 2.40 a unit, which makes Solar a costly option domestically.
  • While India has targeted a solar capacity addition of over 100 GWs by 2022, this seems unviable unless various solar components become cheaper.
  • Also, addition of new thermal power plants (as they produce more stable output) is a hindrance to solar deployment.

How does the future of ties look?

  • While there is scope for bilateral navel and intelligence cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, it is majorly symbolic than substantive.
  • As two pluralistic democracies with a firm belief in a multi-polar world order, India and France have numerous strategic convergences.
  • Multiple practical considerations do hinder greater Indo-French ties in the international arena, but the sentiments are positive and needs to be sustained.

 

Source: The Hindu

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