Europe In The Players’ List
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s recent three-nation Europe visit, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs claimed that the PM’ meeting with French President Emanuel Macron in Paris was the most effective one. In spite of their disagreement over the Ukraine crisis, New Delhi and Paris have agreed to take a more tolerant stance on Russia. According to a statement issued by the Indian Ministry, PM Modi and President Macron decided to ensure that the Russia-Ukraine War would not hamper strategic cooperation between India and France. In addition, the French President has decided to connect his country to the Indo-Pacific Region, commercially and strategically.
After the Modi-Macon meeting on May 4, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said: “There is a clear and detailed understanding between the two countries on Ukraine. The two leaders feel that coordination and cooperation in various fields are very important. It will be possible to deal with the situation that has been created through cooperation. The PM and the President also discussed the far-reaching consequences of the Russia-Ukraine War. Discussions have been held on various issues, like possible food crisis, prevention of fertiliser shortage.” According to the Foreign Secretary, the French president expressed desire to be associated with PM Modi’s Self-reliant India (Atma-Nirvar Bharat) project. Even France is interested in manufacturing defence equipment jointly with India.
Meanwhile, the biggest diplomatic gain for India is that France is eager to boost maritime trade with the former. Like Britain and Germany, France and other European countries want to boost maritime cooperation with India, especially in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Regions. President Macron informed the visiting Indian PM that France wanted to secure safe transportation of its products and to boost investment in India and other parts of South Asia.
Interestingly, there are some fundamental differences between France and other European countries. France has several islands in the Indo-Pacific Region, where more than 1.5 million French nationals live. France has its own economic zone in those islands, as well. Hence, Paris has always given a special importance to this region.
The Russia-Ukraine War has started influencing the security scenario of Europe. Keeping in mind this changing security situation, Paris has decided to boost defence, naval and trade cooperation with New Delhi. Political analysts are of the opinion that France can also help India normalise ties with the European Union (EU) in the coming days.
It seems Modi and Macron shall boost bilateral ties during their second term as Prime Minister and President, respectively.
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