Your Excellency and my dear friend President Macron,
Delegates from both countries,
Friends from media,
I would like to express my gratitude to President Macron for this warm welcome in the beautiful city of Paris. I also wish the people of France a very happy National Day. This day is considered a symbol of values like liberty, equality and fraternity in the world. These values are also an important foundation of relations between our two democratic countries. Today, I had the honor of attending this festival as the Chief Guest. I am happy that contingents from all three armed forces of India participated to enhance the beauty and dignity of this occasion. We all also saw the fly past of Indian Rafale aircraft. Our naval ship was also present at a French port. So, we saw a wonderful picture of our growing cooperation in water, land and sky together. Yesterday, President Macron conferred upon me the highest national honour of France. This honour is the honour of 140 crore Indians.
We are celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of our Strategic Partnership. On the strong foundation of the last twenty-five years, we are preparing a roadmap for the next twenty-five years. Bold and ambitious targets are being set in it. The people of India have also resolved to make it a developed country during this period. We see France as a natural partner in this journey. In two days, we have the opportunity to discuss all areas of mutual cooperation in detail. It is our shared priority to strengthen economic relations further.
We are identifying new initiatives to increase cooperation in various sectors such as Renewable Energy, Green Hydrogen, Artificial Intelligence, semiconductors, cyber and digital technology. An agreement has been reached to launch India's UPI i.e. Unified Payments Interface in France. We are emphasizing on integrating the start-up and innovation ecosystem of both the countries. We must continue to work together with like-minded countries for the democratization of technology supply chains. Climate change and environmental protection have been our shared and key priority. In this direction, we had already established the International Solar Alliance, which has now become a movement. Now we desire to work fast on the roadmap of blue economy and ocean governance. We will move forward on a joint initiative against single use plastic. I welcome the long term agreement between Indian Oil and France's Total Company for the export of LNG. This will strengthen our goals of clean energy transition. Later today, we are also going to participate in the India-France CEOs Forum. There will be detailed discussions with business representatives of both the countries on strengthening the economic cooperation.
Defence cooperation has been a fundamental pillar of our relations. This is a symbol of deep mutual trust between the two countries. France is an important partner in ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. Today, we will discuss about co-production and co-development of new technologies in India in the field of defence. Be it submarines or naval ships, we desire to work together to meet not only our own needs, but the needs of third friendly countries also. There are scopes of enhancing cooperation between our defence space agencies. We are moving forward on setting up MRO facilities, producing spare parts, engines for helicopters by French companies in India. We will focus on further strengthening our cooperation in it. Taking the cooperation in the civil nuclear sector forward, we will discuss the scope of cooperation in Small and Advanced Modular Reactors. Today the whole of India is excited on the successful launch of Chandrayaan by it. This is a huge achievement of our scientists. India and France have a long and deep cooperation in the field of space. New agreements have been signed between our space agencies. This includes satellite launch services, development of TRISHNA satellite to monitor the temperature and atmosphere of ocean and the Earth. We can also enhance our cooperation in areas like Space based Maritime Domain Awareness.
There have been deep people to people contacts between India and France for a long time. Our discussions today will strengthen these relationships further. We will open a new Indian Consulate in the city of Marseille, in the south of France. We welcome the decision to provide long term visas to people of Indian origin who have studied in France. We invite French universities to set up their campuses in India. France is joining as a partner in the new National Museum to be built in Delhi. All Indian athletes are very excited for the Olympics to be held in Paris next year. I give my best wishes to President Macron and his entire team for its successful organization.
Today we will also discuss various important regional and global issues. As resident powers of the Indo-Pacific, India and France have a special responsibility for peace and stability in the region. We are working on Indo-Pacific cooperation roadmap to give a constructive shape to our cooperation. Both sides are also in discussion on the proposal of Indo-Pacific Triangular Development Cooperation Fund. This will open up new opportunities to promote startups and innovation across the region. We welcome the decision of France to lead the Maritime Resource Pillar in India's Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative.
The Covid pandemic and the Ukraine conflict have impacted the entire world. These have had a particularly negative impact on the countries of the Global South. It is a matter of concern. It is necessary for all the countries to work together to solve these problems. We believe that all disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. India is ready to contribute in the restoration of stable peace. India and France have always been together in the fight against terrorism. We believe that concerted action is required to end cross-border terrorism. Both the countries have agreed to enhance cooperation in this direction.
I and all Indians are very excited to welcome you in India during the G20 Summit this year. Once again I thank you very much for your friendship and your hospitality.
DISCLAIMER - This is the approximate translation of Prime Minister's Press Statement. Original Press Statement were delivered in Hindi.