October 2014 \ Cover Story \ Cover Story—Indians in France
The France-India cooperation

  • Minister Laurent Fabius and Prime Minister Modi

Relations between India and France have traditionally been friendly. France was the first country with which India entered into an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation following the waiver given by the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, enabling India to resume full civil nuclear cooperation with the international community.

When talking about cooperation, we often have in mind the cooperation in the field of Defence but there is also a growing and wide-ranging cooperation in other areas such as trade and investment, culture, science and technology and education.

During his meeting with Mr. Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister in India in July 2014, Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi sought French cooperation in the field of urban planning and heritage conservation. India planned to build heritage cities and 100 new smart cities and France has the expertise to help in this regard. The Prime Minister also sought French cooperation in the fields of tourism, skill development and low-cost defence manufacturing.

Another area of cooperation is agro-processing which has an important role in the economic development of India—directly as a source of income and employment and indirectly for their backward linkages with agriculture. India’s 350 million strong middle class, with increasing incomes and changing food habits, provides a huge market for agro-products and processed food. The relatively low-cost but skilled workforce can be effectively utilised to set up large, low-cost production bases for domestic and export markets.