Vastavam web: Gravely concerned over growing terrorism, India and France today decided to strengthen counter-terror cooperation, and asked the international community to oppose the countries which are financing, sheltering and providing safe havens to terrorists.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held wide-ranging talks with her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, during which they also decided to strengthen cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), a development which comes barely days after India held quadrilateral talks with Japan, Australia and the US in Manila on the sidelines of India-ASEAN Summit.
“We expressed grave concern on growing terrorism and decided that we need to fight the evil together. We appealed to all countries to oppose those financing, sheltering and providing safe havens to terrorists,” Swaraj said at a joint press event with the French minister.French firm EDF will build six atomic reactors of 1,650MW each at Jaitapur, some 500 kms south off Mumbai, with National Power Corporation India Limited (NPCIL) as operator.
The two sides discussed growing cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region where both India and France have a crucial presence and the issue of maritime security, Swaraj said.”The cooperation, which could include other willing strategic partners, is aimed at ensuring the safety of international sea-lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications, countering maritime terrorism and piracy, building maritime domain awareness, capacity building and greater coordination in regional and international fora in the Indian ocean region,” she said.Describing cooperation in the areas of defence, space and civil nuclear sector as the three principal pillars of the strategic partnership, Swaraj said India-France defence ties have been growing very strong encompassing institutional interactions, joint military exercises, acquisition, training, and research and development.
The two sides have also agreed on the need to deepen technology and manufacturing partnership, as well as strengthen India-France military logistics coordination.Describing his talks “very useful and substantive”, he said, “On matters such as combating terrorism, maritime security, cooperation in the Indian Ocean – where France and India are two countries belonging to the Indian Ocean Rim – we have a complete commonality of views, which calls for the strengthening of our partnership.” Earlier this year, France, along with the US and the UK, had co-piloted a proposal to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar by the UN. However, the proposal was thwarted by China.The visiting dignitary also talked about robust defence ties, saying the bilateral defence partnership is well known through the Rafale and Scorp ne projects to mention only the most emblematic ones but it is far broader than that, similar to our cooperation in the Indian Ocean.
He also said the partnership for the planet was at the core of France’s global diplomacy.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron have expressed their desire to maintain the momentum created with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the founding of the International Solar Alliance.On trade ties, Swaraj said the bilateral trade turnover of USD 10.95 billion dollars suggests that there is tremendous scope for trade growth.