France’s commitment to India’s security is very clear. Our strategic partnership illustrates this | India News


As India’s ties with France deepened to become one of the most important bilateral relations, the two countries overcame the limits of the Covid pandemic to hold the strategic dialogue between NSA Ajit Doval and Emmanuel Good, President Macron’s diplomatic adviser. Sitting down for a conversation with TOI, Bonne said: “We work together as sovereign partners, with a strong will to tackle international challenges in a post-Covid world that will force like-minded countries to join forces . ”
What were your discussions with the NSA and Indian leaders?
My discussions are part of the Indo-French strategic dialogue, where we discuss with confidence on a wide range of security and defense issues. We have strong, reliable and consistent cooperation on strategic business with India. We are committed partners, we have very solid platforms on which we work and we have ambitions. We have a clear vision – in terms of regional and Indo-Pacific security. We are tackling global issues of terrorism and new threats like cyber. We approach this with a conviction – that we work together as sovereign partners, with a strong will to tackle international challenges in a post-Covid world that will force like-minded countries to join forces, rule-based. clear and a common understanding of what needs to be done.
How would you describe our current cooperation in the Indo-Pacific?
The basis of our cooperation are the speeches of President Macron in Australia and Prime Minister Modi at the Shangri La Dialogue. They provide a global framework for cooperation between France and India in the Indo-Pacific. It is based on realities, on shared security needs and shared values. India is a major player in this region, but France is also a country in the Indo-Pacific, through French territories, the military presence and the region’s maritime economic zone. This gives us the leverage of a very operational cooperation with India. Mainly in the field of maritime safety, but also through increasingly ambitious cooperation on issues such as environmental preservation, the blue economy and investments in line with international standards and sustainable development.
How does the India-France-Australia trilateral work?
The basis of our cooperation is bilateral. But it can be expanded, with partners like Australia. This trilateral dialogue started in September 2020 and has already proved to be very fruitful. We believe that like-minded countries, sharing common democratic values, can shape the global agenda.
As India enters the UNSC, do France and India have areas of common interest?
France is very actively campaigning for India to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. We believe that India has the legitimacy to hold a permanent seat and would make a decisive contribution to international peace and security. In 2021-2022, we want to work together at the UNSC on an ambitious agenda – including priorities for France such as the Middle East and Africa – and help fill the gaps of the international community on the most pressing issues. Like the Iranian nuclear issue. We need India to work with us to find the right method and the right way to ensure that Iran comes back into full compliance with the JCPOA and to engage with other partners for peace and security in the Middle -East and world stability.
Terrorism is a priority for both France and India and you have worked closely at the FATF. What are the next steps?
Terrorism is a long-term threat. When our country was the victim of terrorist attacks last October, India’s clear public support was invaluable. Now we must continue to develop our operational cooperation and mobilize the international community to make it more coherent and effective against all terrorist threats. The financing of terrorism is a key issue in this regard, and we are pleased that this year India is hosting the third edition of the “No Money For Terror” initiative, which France launched in 2018. The fight against speeches hatred and incitement to terrorism on the Internet is another area in which we can cooperate. Finally, at the UNSC, India will chair important committees related to the fight against terrorism: we will work together on issues such as the adoption of sanctions against terrorist groups and individuals and their implementation.
India’s biggest security challenge is China. How do you see it?
Our commitment to India’s security is very clear. Our strategic partnership illustrates this commitment. Regarding the regional environment of India, we are counting on the Indian authorities to find the right solution with their neighbors through peaceful dialogue and negotiations, to resolve long-standing issues. France, as a permanent member of the UNSC, has a special role to play in international peace and security. We are committed to international law and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
India views China as an aggressor, not only against India but in the region. Do you agree?
As for China, France and its European partners have a very clear strategy, defined by the European Union in 2019 which defines China in three words – a partner, a competitor and a systemic rival. What we are doing with China is to work on conditions that take into account the important role that China must play in international life, but within a very clear framework of international rules. We want to be able to operate with the Chinese authorities on the basis of international law, international standards, respect for the security of all our partners. It’s both a demanding and engaging approach, aimed at both promoting our interests and securing positive commitments from China – that’s true in everything we do.
What is the next step in Rafale’s acquisitions. Is it co-development?
Defense cooperation is part of our strategic partnership. We are a reliable long term defense partner of India. We are proud that all Rafale jets were delivered on time despite the pandemic. As for new opportunities: we are ready to respond to Indian needs and demands, to help India strengthen its strategic autonomy.
Where are we on the Jaitapur nuclear power project? Do you think we can conclude the negotiations anytime soon?
We are convinced that we can find a way to conclude the negotiations. In a context where our countries are engaged in a green transition, we need an energy mix integrating renewable energies. – We have many Indo-French initiatives in this sector, such as the International Solar Alliance. – but nuclear is also a key element of the energy mix.


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