M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, hosted a meeting yesterday with his Indian counterpart, Mr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs.
The two ministers reaffirmed their shared vision of a free, open Indo-Pacific region governed by legal rules, ahead of the start in Paris tomorrow of the Ministerial Forum for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, organized by the French presidency of the Council of the European Union and co-chaired by Jean-Yves Le Drian and Josep Borrell, High Representative of the the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The ministers discussed international and regional issues, including the demanding dialogue with Russia to ensure respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and talks with Iran to ensure the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The ministers agreed to deepen the Franco-Indian strategic partnership and cooperation in the defence, civil nuclear, space and security fields. They adopted the bilateral road map on the blue economy and ocean governance, by which France and India commit to joint actions to make the Indo-Pacific an area of sustainable growth, respect for international law and protected oceans. They reiterated the importance of stepping up people-to-people exchanges between France and India. In this regard, M. Le Drian recalled the goal of hosting 20,000 Indian students in France between now and 2025 and proposed the creation of an Indo-Pacific campus in India focused on training, research and innovation in the health field.
In the run-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris in 2024, a declaration of intent in the field of sport was finalized.
The Minister welcomed the many events coming up in the cultural sphere, including France and India's participation as mutual guests of honour in the New Delhi World Book Fair and Paris Book Festival, and the launch of the fourth Bonjour India festival. With over 130 cultural events being organized in India from March to May, Bonjour India 2022 will celebrate the friendship between France and India, marking the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.