Sunday, 31 January 2016

Takeaways from the visit of French President François Hollande to India

Francois Hollande was the chief guest on 67th Republic Day celebration. This was the fifth time that a French leader has been a Chief Guest at India's Republic Day celebrations - the maximum number from any country so far.

Importantly, France was the first country with which India established a Strategic Partnership in 1998 after New Delhi did nuclear tests. The two countries have close cooperation in defence, space, civil-nuclear and security issues along with strong trade and investment and cultural ties. France is also the first country with which India entered into civil nuclear energy cooperation in 2008 after obtaining the NSG waiver.

France, being a permanent member of UNSC can help India to get a permanent seat in UNSC.
  • The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, also known as the Permanent Five, Big Five, or P5, include the following five governments: China(1971), France(1958), Russia(1992), the United Kingdom(1945), and the United States(1945).
India and France on 25 January, 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding over the purchase of 36 Rafale jets(manufactured by France Aircraft Company - Dassault). The deal, announced in April,2015 by Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi, has been in limbo after negotiations hit a roadblock over price issues. The purchase of the 36 Rafale jets from France would cost India around Rs 60,000 crore.

France and India Solar Pact
  • French Development Agency will contribute 300 million euros for the development of solar energy over the next five years in order to finance the initial projects to be undertaken by the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the real challenge was to attract investments worth a trillion dollars to promote the renewable source., French President Francois Hollande said on 25 January, 2016.
  • Speaking at an event in Gurgaon to lay the foundation stone for ISA headquarters and secretariat, Hollande said the India-led initiative will require an investment of about 1,200 billion euros to achieve the target of installing 100 GW solar energy by 2022, and it has the full support of France.
  • He said,"Your country is the precursor, your country is the promoter, your country is the investor as you have decided to generate 40% of your electricity from renewable energy by 2030".
  • The International Solar Alliance, envisaged to bring together 122 countries that lie wholly or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, is an initiative announced by Mr. Modi at the COP 21 Summit in Paris in November. The member countries are to be those that enjoy 300 or more days in a year of bright sunlight.
India and France deal during Modi visit of France in April, 2015
  • Areva and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) had taken the first concrete steps in April, 2015 towards making the Jaitapur nuclear power plants a reality with both companies signing an early works agreement. This will be the first formal pact between the two sides for Areva to begin work on the planned six EPR (evolutionary power reactor) power plants.
  • Infrastructure being close to Modi's heart, discussions through his first day in France focused on "Clean Ganga", railways, waste management and smart cities. France has been designated a partner country for development of smart cities.