French Foreign Minister visits India with an eye on promoting cooperation in Indo-Pacific

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The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Catherine Colonna is arriving in India on a two-day visit from September 14 with an ambitious agenda to deepen and expand the Indo-French strategic partnership ahead of its 25th anniversary next year. The visit also demonstrates France’s unwavering commitment to the Indo-Pacific and determination to work with India to find common solutions to global disorders

“With a population of 4.5 billion Indo-Pacific region is at the heart of major global issues such as climate, health, trade, defense, and security. It has become an area of intense competition between powers which could lead to serious tension as we recently saw in the Taiwan strait. France is an Indo-Pacific nation, it has overseas territories in the Indian Ocean and the pacific. Two million French people live in that area. We have a strong economic presence and 7000 military personnel pre-positioned in the area,” says Anne-Claire Legendre, Spokeswoman, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

On Wednesday, 14th September, Minister Colonna will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a year that marks the 75th anniversary of Indo-French diplomatic relations, Minister Colonna will highlight France’s belief that the trust-based strategic partnership is the best asset to continue boosting strategic autonomy and uphold a multipolar rules-based world order. In this respect, Minister Colonna will convey France’s full support for India’s upcoming G20 presidency.

Minister Colonna will hold in-depth bilateral consultations with Dr S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs. Their talks will cover the gamut of issues including bilateral strategic partnership, regional and global subjects of common interest, and coordination on issues under consideration at the United Nations Security Council, which France is currently chairing.

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“Our goal is to maintain an Indo-Pacific space that is free, open, and inclusive to ensure that all states can freely exercise their sovereignty. This French and European strategy aims to work with regional partners to find shared responses to global challenges. Security and Defence, climate change, protection of biodiversity and the environment, maritime safety, global health, and also human exchange will be discussed during her visit,” she said further.

On the second day of her trip, Thursday, 15th September, Minister Catherine Colonna will travel to Mumbai. The Minister will meet with leading Indian investors with business interests in France, in a context where France has been ranked as the top European destination for FDI for the third year in a row.

The Minister will address the annual general meeting of the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IFCCI). She will call upon French companies to continue investing in India’s immense potential with sustainable solutions that help meet India’s ecological transition goals and strengthen the Indo-French partnership for the planet.

The French Minister will also tour Mazagon Dock shipyard, where she will visit “Vagsheer”, the most recent of the France-designed Kalvari-class submarines made in India for the Indian Navy under a successful transfer of technology program.

This visit will exemplify France’s commitment to Aatmanirbhar Bharat in the defense sector and to Indo-French naval cooperation as a net security provider in the Indo-Pacific.

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