10 December, 2019
Syllabus subtopic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests
Prelims and Mains focus: about Indo-France defence ties, security threats in the IOR and their impact on India’s interests, belt and Road initiative
News: India and France are ready to sign a pact on securing communication links between their top military officials in a sign of their deepening defence partnership, especially in the Indian Ocean region.
This comes against the backdrop of an increased Chinese footprint and the persistence of Islamic State. The pact with India will be the first outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance for France.
Indo-France defence cooperation
Issues in the Indian Ocean Region
There is a lot of unregulated fishing in this ocean, which is a big issue for all the countries, particularly for East African countries. They need these fisheries because of the protein coming from the Indian Ocean.
If not controlled, it could be pillaged and if it is pillaged, it could be contested like what we see in the South China Sea (competing claims by China and its neighbours over the South China Sea that has led to friction in the region).
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a strategy to protect its Sea Lanes of Communication and Chinese interest in Hambantota in Sri Lanka was suspected to be aimed at ensuring a permanent presence in the form of a base there.
India-France Defence cooperation
Indo-French cooperation in this area is ambitious and several collaborative projects are currently being considered. Bilateral military contacts are being strengthened through joint exercises.
France and its defence industry also actively contribute to the “Make in India” programme in the defence sector. The first conventional submarine, Scorpene, which started being built in India in 2008 with transfer of technology and support from DCNS, began sea trials in 2015, and the second in January 2017. An agreement on India’s acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets was concluded in September 2016. This has paved the way for unprecedented technological and industrial cooperation for the next four decades to come.
Maritime security cooperation: France and India’s respective leaders desired in March 2018 to give a fresh impetus to this longstanding area of our cooperation, which was initiated with the launch of the first bilateral naval exercise, Varuna, in 1983. Now bolstered by a joint strategic vision in the Indian Ocean, the cooperation between our two countries has become resolutely operational in several areas:
Note: To know about other areas of India-France cooperation, click on the link below:
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
Significance of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Project
Why India is boycotting Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Project?
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