Statement by Mr François Hollande, President of the French Republic
Paris, 10 April 2015
Ladies and gentlemen,
I’ve had the pleasure of hosting the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi: he’s doing us an honour, because for his visit to Europe he’s chosen France for the first leg, thus signalling the exceptional relationship between France and India.
This relationship is based on trust – mutual trust. Whenever France has needed full and complete solidarity, it’s received it from India. And whenever India has experienced ordeals, France has stood alongside it. I’m talking about history; I’m also talking about terrorism. Our two countries have been hit, and we’ve always stood together in the face of that aggression, those attacks, because they’ve affected us in the same way. The Prime Minister of India often says that whenever India is attacked it’s as if France were attacked, and vice versa; so I want to thank you once again, Prime Minister, for your solidarity at the time of the attacks that brought bloodshed to my country in January. Likewise, I express to you my outrage every time a terrorist may be released when he bears responsibility for a heinous act.
India, as I’ve said, is one of France’s leading partners in the world, and we work together, our two governments, to ensure stability, development and peace. We have a strategic partnership, which was signed in 1998 and we’ve considerably strengthened it during the Prime Minister’s visit.
We’re conscious first of all that regarding space – we’ve just celebrated the 50th anniversary of our cooperation – we’re at the cutting edge, we share this technology and we have a desire to continue along this path.
On energy too – particularly civilian nuclear energy, which requires absolute trust – we’ve signed major agreements to make progress on the emblematic project to build EPRs in Jaitapur. On renewable energy too, we’re determined to set an example: on solar power, wind power and generally all forms of energy efficiency, and there again, along with the companies concerned we’ve been able to further new projects in addition to what we’ve succeeded at together.
As regards defence – which is a major subject because our two countries want to be independent, because our two countries want to control technologies, because our two countries want to share them, because our two countries want to cooperate, particularly on intelligence, on everything that can support the effective fight against terrorism, in order also to ensure stability and peace – we have many common projects in areas like missiles, submarines and also planes, and everyone knows about the Rafale, and I’ll let the Prime Minister speak about that to say what stage our discussions are at. But on all these fields, what have we wanted to assert together? Precisely the fact that we can control and share technologies.
I appreciate what the Prime Minister says about what’s called “Make in India”: it’s not simply a programme, it’s a determination, an ambition, and we share it. It also means our partnership doesn’t simply boil down to the economy, even though the economy is essential and we, India and France, want to have a high rate of growth; but we have global responsibilities, responsibilities – I mentioned them – in terms of stability, security and peace, and that’s why France supports India so that this great country can become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and be involved – as is [already] the case – in resolving all the crises we’re experiencing.
We have another responsibility, namely to tackle together the issue of the climate and preparations for the conference that will be held in Paris at the end of the year; I discussed this with Prime Minister Modi, and there again, our desires and analyses are perfectly aligned; we need India in order to make the conference a success. Its voice, its commitment are essential to a good agreement in Paris, and in order to ensure a good agreement in Paris there should be contributions from the countries, from all countries, to combat global warming, but there should also be financial commitments, and France wants to set an example and share a common approach with India through this exceptional partnership. In the coming years, we’re going to earmark €2 billion to promoting and developing exemplary cooperation in the areas of sustainable development and energy efficiency. We also want to share technologies when it comes to the climate, and this will enable us to get all countries on board, particularly the major emerging countries like India. So we’ve built a Indo-French agenda on sustainable development.
Finally, we also want to show that France can be involved with its businesses in a number of areas like transport – we signed an agreement on railways –, urban development and the 100 “Smart Cities” the Indian government wants to launch.
I’ll end with people-to-people contacts, because we also discussed this dimension in the Indo-French relationship; I assured the Prime Minister that we want to host more Indian students, we want our businesses, institutes and universities to train more Indian staff, and we want to have high-level scientific cooperation; and here again, agreements were signed with the CNRS and its Indian equivalent and with our two countries’ universities.
We also want there to be very high-level cultural cooperation, and already there’s been cooperation on heritage promotion between the châteaux of the Loire and the palaces of Rajasthan, and we want this kind of example to be a multiplier for tourism because we want this; there are many Indians who want to discover France and many French people who aspire to go to India. Still in the cultural field, we also want to have exemplary cooperation on cinema.
I want to finish with what the partnership between France and India signifies politically. We’re two great democracies; one which, through its own revolution, was destined to advance values and principles, and the other which, after attaining its independence, was capable of becoming the largest democracy in the world. So we advance values and principles together, we’re committed to independence and together, therefore, we’re determined to play a direct part in resolving major global issues, and when two countries are as close and advance common values, they must be exemplary in many areas – exemplary in sustainable development, as we’ve demonstrated, exemplary economically through very significant cross-investments, exemplary culturally and politically, and this is why Prime Minister Modi’s visit is so important for our country.