India-France Relations

2024 JAN 26

Mains   > International relations   >   India and Global Powers   >   India and Developed world


GS 2 >  International Relations   >   India and Global Powers


India is all set to host French President Emmanuel Macron as the chief guest of its 75th Republic Day Parade. Macron is the fifth French President to grace the occasion.



  • Securing the Indo-Pacific- India requires French support for maintaining the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific region and to counter the growing Chinese aggression. Ex- India-France Joint Strategic Vision for cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region in 2018.
  • Strategic Autonomy- The India-France relation is strategically autonomous in its truest sense, as it is not constrained either by the Anglo-Saxon views (in France) nor the anti-western thoughts (In India). Ex- France support of India after 1998 Pokhran Nuclear Test.
  • Entry to Key Organisations- France’s support is crucial to India’s entry into important organisations like the UNSC and the NSG.
  • Global Stability- India- France relations is crucial for checking Russia’s assertiveness in Europe and China’s assertiveness in Asia. This will ensure, global stability and power parity in the emerging world order.
  • Horizon 2047 Agreement- Horizon 2047 agreement between India and France lays down the future roadmap of India-France collaboration for the next 25 years. The collaboration between India and France in emerging domains such as supercomputing, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and quantum technologies holds significant importance for India’s future.


  • France was the first P-5 country to support Indian membership in the UNSC  and the reforms of the United Nations.
  • France’s support was vital in India’s accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and Australia Group (AG).
  • France has got the unique honour of being the country that has been invited the highest number of times as chief guest for the Republic Day.
  • France has offered its biggest strategic asset in the Indo-Pacific territory to India. Ex- Indian Air Force planes have been deployed to Reunion Island.
  • France has also given equities in organisations such as the Indian Ocean Commission to India. France is also part of India-France-Australia Trilateral Dialogue that supports free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
  • France has supported India on Jammu and Kashmir and has stood with India to counter Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, and has bolstered India’s capabilities against China.
Defence and Security
  • France has emerged as a key defence partner for India. It has become the second-largest defence supplier in 2017-2021. Major Military equipments imported from France include Rafale and Mirage 2000 Fighter Aircraft and Scorpene Submarines.
  • India and France have been regularly conduct joint exercises- Varuna (Naval), Garuda (Air Force) and Shakti (Army).
  • India and France have been undertaking ‘joint patrolling’ in the Indian Ocean Region and are striving towards maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Bilateral trade between India and France has reached a new peak at USD 13.4 billion in 2022-23. The exports from India have crossed USD 7 billion.
  • France is the 11th largest foreign investor in India. The cumulative investment of France in India is USD 10.49 billion from April 2000 to December 2022.
    More than 1,000 French establishments are present in India. Their total turnover is around US$ 20 billion and they employ around 300,000 persons.
Energy and Climate
  • French support played an important role in India getting an exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2008 to resume international cooperation in civil nuclear energy.
  • France actively supports India’s entry in to the NSG.
  • India and France played a pivotal role in the establishment of International Solar Alliance.
Science& Tech
  • France’s CNES and India’s ISRO partnership has been strengthened with the Joint Vision for Space Cooperation in 2018.
  • India and France are collaborating on Joint Earth Observation Mission- TRISHNA, Joint Mars Mission and removal of space debris.
  • India and France are jointly constructing the world’s largest nuclear park in Jaitapur, Maharashtra.
    France is the first European country to accept the UPI payments system.
  • Around 109,000 of Indians, largely originating from French enclavesof Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe and Chandernagore live in France.
  • Also, a sizable number of Indian-origin population lives in the French Overseas Territories of Reunion Island (280,000), Guadeloupe (60,000), Martinique (6,000) and Saint Martin (300).



  • Absence of Free Trade Agreement: The lack of a Free Trade Agreement between India and France limits economic relations. This is evident in the lower bilateral trade with France compared to India's trade with Germany. The stalled progress on the India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) further hampers deeper economic ties.
  • Trade Imbalances and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Issues: The economic relationship is skewed, with France exporting more to India, leading to trade imbalances. Additionally, France has expressed concerns over the protection of IPRs for French businesses operating in India.
  • Stalled Projects: Certain negotiated projects like the Jaitapur nuclear project have not been operationalized, reflecting a challenge in implementing bilateral agreements.
  • Differing Geopolitical Approaches: Divergent views on international issues, such as France's criticism of the Russian invasion of Ukraine versus India's more nuanced stance, and contrasting positions on China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), pose challenges in aligning foreign policies.
  • Emerging Geopolitical Scenario: The evolving geopolitical landscape, including tensions in the Middle East, Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean, and potential changes in U.S. leadership, add complexity to the India-France relationship.
  • Nuclear Sector Concerns: Post-Fukushima, the global shift away from nuclear energy and financial issues faced by Areva, the French company involved in the Jaitapur nuclear project, raise doubts about future nuclear cooperation.
  • Balancing Relationships with Other Countries: India's longstanding relationship with Russia, amidst EU sanctions, and the establishment of AUKUS, which affected France's strategic position in the Indo-Pacific, create a diplomatic challenge. Additionally, France's joint infrastructure projects with China could impact its support for India in strategic matters.


  • Finalize the India-EU BTIA: Prioritize the conclusion of the India-EU Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement, using strong ties with France to facilitate this process and deepen economic relations with the EU.
  • Implement the Agreement on Migration and Mobility: Collaborate to enhance the mobility of students, professionals, and skilled workers, while jointly addressing challenges related to irregular migration.
  • Increase Trade and Investment: Focus on boosting bilateral trade and investment through joint ventures, expanded trade agreements, and cross-border investments, particularly in key sectors of mutual interest.
  • Expedite Stalled Projects: Establish a joint task force to accelerate projects like the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant, ensuring timely resolution of impediments and effective project implementation.
  • Expand Technological and Educational Cooperation: Strengthen collaboration in emerging technologies (like 5G, 6G) and enhance cultural and educational exchanges. This includes joint research initiatives, technology exchange programs, and fostering people-to-people connections through student and academic exchanges.

The future of India-France relations hinges on strategic cooperation and mutual efforts in innovative sectors, promising to redefine their partnership in the context of a rapidly evolving global landscape. This collaboration has the potential to significantly influence both regional and international dynamics, benefiting both nations.


Q: France is a trusted ally of India and India’s 21st century aspirations need strong support of allies like France. Comment. (10M,150W)