France-India Annual Foreign Office Consultations
Mr Christian Masset, Foreign Secretary, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development visited India for Annual Foreign Office Consultations.
New Delhi, 14 November 2016
Mr Christian Masset, Secretary General of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, visited India on 14th November 2016 to hold consultations with his counterpart Dr S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary of India.
Mr Christian Masset met Shri M.J. Akbar, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs, as well as Mr Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India.
During the course of their consultations, Mr Christian Masset and Dr S. Jaishankar reviewed Indo-French bilateral relations, particularly the pillars of the strategic partnership, and major international issues.
Secretary General Masset underscored that the conclusion of the intergovernmental agreement on the Rafale aircraft was a major step in the Indo-French strategic partnership, which would give an unmatched impetus to the bilateral defence cooperation for the decades to come. He welcomed the progress made in the negotiations on the France-India nuclear project for building six EPRs (evolutionary power nuclear reactors) in Jaitapur, in accordance with the roadmap agreed on by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President François Hollande during the latter’s State visit in January 2016.
A growing priority, the cooperation between France and India in the Indian Ocean –where both countries have vital interests, strong presence and capabilities – was discussed in depth, including the organization of the second bilateral dialogue on maritime security scheduled in Delhi in January 2017. Secretary General Masset also invited a delegation from India to visit Reunion Island in the coming months.
The exemplary cooperation between France and India in combating global warming was emphasized, on the eve of signing the agreement establishing the International Solar Alliance on the occasion of COP22 in Marrakesh.
Secretary General Masset reiterated France’s unconditional support for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, hoping that it would meet the same success as it did for joining the MTCR. He expressed France’s willingness to assist India in joining other export control regimes, starting with the Wassenaar Arrangement.
With regard to regional issues, Mr Masset stressed the importance of finding a credible political solution to the Syrian crisis, respectful of the genuine aspirations of the Syrian people. He emphasized that it was a necessary condition to effectively fight Daesh in Syria. He assured Foreign Secretary Jaishankar of France’s full solidarity and support in dealing with the threat posed to India by cross-border terrorism, particularly by Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.