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India France: Tracing Ashoka-Napoleon Corridor Today

India and France have decided to mark the 25th anniversary of the Indo-French partnership by adopting a roadmap that will guide their bilateral relationship until 2047. This year holds special significance as it not only celebrates India's 100 years of independence but also marks 100 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations and 50 years of their strategic partnership.

An illustration of India-France relations

Illustration by The Geostrata

The roadmap aims to strengthen and deepen the cooperation and friendship between India and France in the coming years.  When it comes to the world of global politics,  the strategic partnerships between the countries play a crucial role.

India has more than 30 strategic partnerships all around the globe, but the Franco-Indian partnership is the oldest and most reliable one. The partnership was signed in 1998, when India conducted its Pokhran nuclear tests.

The whole Western world wanted to impose sanctions on India to cripple its growing economy, but France welcomed India into the global nuclear grouping. France, being a Permanent member of the UNSC, has supported India in different disputes including the Kashmir issue.

The year 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of India-France strategic ties. Both countries are venturing into various sectors like defense and security, space, civil nuclear power and renewable energy, trade, and finance.


India and France ranked 4th and 9th, respectively, on the Global Firepower Index 2023. Both countries have a very old defense relationship; for example, the SEPECAT Jaguar and Mirage 2000 are serving the Indian Air Force and were brought from France. Mirage 2000 also played a very crucial role in the Balakot air strike conducted by the IAF in 2019 against Pakistan. India also bought two squadrons of Dassault Rafale for the IAF, which boosted the IAF's firepower.

PM Narendra Modi's visit to France marks a significant moment in bilateral relations as India plans to buy 26 Rafale M (Marine) fighter jets for the Indian Navy.

India is also purchasing 3 more Scorpene-class submarines from France, which will result in a total of 9 Scorpene-class submarines as 6 are already in service (the 6th INS Vaghsheer is going through sea trials and will be inducted soon).

Safran, the French company, and DRDO will develop a new jet engine for Advanced medium aircraft.

The engine will be shared by both countries in their future Projects. Safran will also co-develop engines with HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) for the Indian multi-role helicopter program.

Over the years, the relationship between France and India was one of buyer-seller, which has now Transformed to a stage where both countries are developing "state-of-the-art technology". France is one of the countries that is sharing its technology with India and making the latter "self-reliant."


India and France have signed bilateral agreements to promote cooperation in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable development. These agreements aim to ease technology transfer, research collaborations, and capacity-building efforts in the field of Clean Energy.

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a joint initiative launched by India and France at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015.

The aim of the Alliance is to promote solar energy development in solar-rich countries. Located between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn.

India played a crucial role in the negotiations of the Paris Agreement in 2015 and committed to reducing its carbon intensity and increasing the share of non-fossil fuel-based energy in its energy mix.


Both countries have become dominant players in Space exploration and have been working together. ISRO and CNES have been collaborating in the fields of Space Medicine, Space debris protection, Radiation protection, and much more.

India and France are planning to develop 8 to 10 satellites as part of a "constellation" for maritime surveillance to monitor sea traffic management in the Indian Ocean. CNES will also contribute to the Indian human spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan.


India's trade with France has been around 12 Billion dollars, and France is a significant source of Foreign investments for India. However,  the trade ties between the two countries can be improved. France can also play a crucial role in negotiations for India-EU trade agreements, which have been stuck for quite some time.

France, being an important member of the EU, wants to make the EU an active member in the rising Indo-Pacific region. India, being a powerful regional power, can fulfill the French ambition.

To cement India's support. France has become the first European country to accept UPI, which is a "Magnum opus of innovation" in the field of online payment services.

Today, both France and India have built great trust in each other. With two great powers in Europe and Asia with similar beliefs in democratic values and independent foreign policy, Scientific Development is trying to create a Multipolar world.



1 Comment

Punya Aggarwal
Punya Aggarwal
Dec 12, 2023

Very well researched and articulated. Full of insights.

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