India’s Prime Minister on his two-day visit to France is supposed to participate in G-7 meeting scheduled to be held in France as a non-member country on the invitation of France for the first time. He had a discussion on a spectrum of issues with France President. Both countries have condemned cross-border terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They have called for halting cross-border movements of terror outfits based in Pakistan and engaged in anti-India activities, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.
The followings are key takeaways of recently concluded visit:
Terror: France backed the PM’s proposal to hold a global conference on terrorism. The two leaders asked UN countries to support organising new “No Money for Terror” International Conference on Fighting Terrorist Financing in Melbourne.
Two countries agreed to enhance their operational cooperation and launch fresh efforts to fight radicalisation, especially Online Radicalisation.
The two leaders reaffirmed their support for the implementation of the Christchurch Call to Action to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist online content adopted in Paris last May.
Defence: Both countries showed satisfaction towards the progress in implementation of agreements signed and reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen cooperation in defence industry field in the spirit of “Make in India”and for the mutual benefit of both countries.
The first of the 36 Rafale aircraft is likely to be delivered in the third week of September.
Nuclear: Both countries expressed satisfaction with the progress in negotiations between NPCIL and EDF since the conclusion of the Industrial Way Forward Agreement between the two parties in 2018 for construction of six nuclear power reactors in Jaitapur, Maharashtra.
Space: Both have decided to deepen space cooperation to meet new challenges together, whether it concerns planetary exploration or human spaceflight.
They took the decision to train medical support personnel for Indian astronauts, who will be part of India’s manned space mission by 2022.
Cyber: Both countries adopted a cybersecurity and digital technology roadmap aimed at expanding Indo-French bilateral cooperation, particularly in the strategic sectors of high-performance computing and Artificial Intelligence, with the target of bringing start-up ecosystems closer to each other.
Maritime: Based on a shared commitment to maintaining the freedom of navigation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific zone.
France and India reviewed the swift implementation of the conclusions of the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, adopted during the last visit of France president.
For the implementation of the White Shipping agreement, India and France agreed on the appointment of a French liaison officer at the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurgaon.
They signed an Implementing Arrangement for the establishment of a framework for the realisation of joint maritime domain awareness mission. This is to keep an eye on Chinese assertive moves in the Indian Ocean region.
Economic engagement: The two sides decided to have an appropriate framework to find ways to further promote bilateral trade and investment
Issue of Afghanistan: The two sides decided to cooperate actively for international peace and security. They supported an inclusive peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, leading to a lasting political solution based on preservation of the gains, including the constitutional order, human rights, particularly women’s rights, and liberties gained over the past 18 years.
They called for the timely holding of Presidential elections; cessation of terrorist violence; and an end to terrorist safe havens for enduring and sustainable peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.
White Shipping Agreement
The white shipping information refers to an exchange of relevant advance information on the identity and movement of commercial non-military merchant vessels.
Ships would be classified into white (commercial ships), grey (military vessels), and black (illegal vessels).
The seas of the entire world are interlinked and vessels can sail routinely around the globe in pursuit of cargo. Thus a vessel that is in Indian waters today maybe sailing towards a distant destination and similarly several vessels set sail from ports around the globe could be bound for India.
This information is likely to be available with the country from whose port it sails. The information is equally relevant for the destination country and those it passes en route. Thus the mutual exchange of such information, called white shipping information, is extremely useful for all concerned.
India has signed white shipping agreements with several countries including The United States and Singapore and is seeking similar agreements with more countries.