India and France are undertaking a strategic dialogue and some unflinching words of support coming from the France are encouraging for India. Though these words have not been reported from official platforms, the speech that Emmanuel Bonne, the diplomatic advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron, delivered at the Vivekananda International Foundation has some plain speak.
Here are the things he said:
- Let us not go for confrontation, and I understand that it’s much easier to say this from Paris than from Delhi when you almost have a problem in the Himalayas and when you have Pakistan at your border.
- On direct threats to India, we have always been very clear. Whether it be on Kashmir, we have been very supportive of India in the Security Council, we have not let the Chinese play any kind of procedural games. When it comes to the Himalayas, just check our statements, we are perfectly clear. What we say publicly, we say to the Chinese also privately, there is no ambiguity.
- Recalling the stance followed by France in supporting India to get JeM Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist, the French diplomat said- When China breaks the rules, we have to be very robust and very clear and this is the sense of our naval presence in the Indian Ocean.
- French Navy is the only European Navy which patrols the Taiwan strait. It was not as a provocation but a way to assert the necessity to abide by international law.
Brief Background of Growing Strategic Partnership
The roaring Rafale jets that are already afloat in the Indian sky are a shining example of Indo-French partnership in defence and strategic sphere.
In recent times, France has increased its presence in the Indian Ocean with an objective of ensuring free navigation, which is also in India’s interests. Very recently, it signed a logistics agreement with India which enables both countries to use each other’s military facilities. In September 2020, India, France, and Australia held their first trilateral meeting themed around cooperation in Indo-Pacific region. You may refer to our earlier article India-France-Australia Trilateral Meet – How India is Shaping Global Narrative in Indo-Pacific Region for more details.
All such measures of cooperation at strategic level are also buoyed by the fact that India and France have come together to create a strong partnership in the energy sector especially through steering the International Solar Alliance.
You may like to read: India and France – A Bond Beyond Rafale Deal