Mercredi 21 Août 2019  

N°114 - Deuxième trimestre 2016

La lettre diplometque
  Inde-France : un partenariat incontournable
  Une diplomatie parlementaire à l’écoute et en action
  Chandigarh : modèle d’une coopération tournée vers l’avenir
  Le CEFIPRA : passerelle scientifique entre la France et l’Inde
  L’Inde, acteur de poids sur la scène internationale
  EDF, un acteur de l’émergence économique de l’Inde
  « L’espace, un partenariat unique dans la coopération franco-indienne »
  L’Armement, vecteur stratégique de la coopération franco-indienne
  Améliorer la vision pour améliorer la vie
  Essilor en Inde : des solutions innovantes et adaptées depuis 1998
  L’Inde et le défi d’assurer une croissance inclusive
  Un marché en plein essor
  Transports, Smart cities, énergie, industrie : l’Inde accélère sa métamorphose
  Une présence économique indienne encore trop modeste en France
  Croissance forte et sécurité renforcée pour les barrages indiens
Organisations Internationales
Coopération Internationale
Enjeux Économiques
La lettre diplometque
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  S.E.Dr / H.E.Dr. Mohan Kumar

With France, an Increasingly Dense Strategic Partnership

Interview with H.E.Dr. Mohan Kumar,
the Ambassador of India to France

A demographic heavyweight on the international stage, India asserted itself in the 20th century as a civilizational model in its own right and, more recently, as an economic power. As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Franco-Indian strategic partnership, which will be celebrated in 2018, the creation of the International Solar Alliance has clearly demonstrated the strength of the dialogue between the two countries. Reflecting on the main orientations of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strategy of emergence, H.E.Dr. Mohan Kumar, Indian Ambassador to France, explains for us the major challenges of Indian diplomacy and the specific links uniting it with France.

The Diplomatic Letter: Mister Ambassador, after having honoured 50 years of diplomatic relations in 2015, India and France will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of their strategic partnership in 2018. Fortified by the experience you acquired through your diplomatic posting in Paris where incidentally, you carried out part of your studies, what is your outlook on the evolution of the ties between the two countries? How would you define the benefits of the mutual contributions to this partnership including on a cultural and scientific level?

H.E.Dr Mohan Kumar: If you look at the history of Indo-French relations in the last 50 years, one thing is evident: India and France are natural allies. Our relationship is synergistic and it has been continuously evolving to adapt to the newer challenges of our times.
When India-France bilateral relationship was elevated to the level of Strategic Partnership in 1998, it was one of the earliest Strategic partnerships for India and since then, the relationship has gone from strength to strength. The reason is that both countries enjoy mutual trust and confidence on bilateral as well as significant global issues. The bilateral cooperation in defence, space and nuclear sectors has been steady and mutually beneficial.
If you look at the last year alone, the frequency of highest level political engagements suggests that both countries are working in tandem to strengthen their cooperation and make strides on global issues such as terrorism and climate change.
In my various roles as Indian diplomat being associated with Indo-French relations has been a professionally satisfying and personally enriching experience. I have been fortunate to have witnessed and having played my part in it. I obtained my Doctorate from Sorbonne University working on WTO’s dispute settlement system with a Developing country perspective and the need to reform. It is interesting to note that the multilateral process that was once saddled with so many problems in the global trade regime, has seen one of its rare and spectacular successes in the global environmental governance regime, especially in the international climate change negotiations in Paris last year.
The COP-21 was an engaging experience, with French diplomacy deftly leading the complex multilateral negotiations and India doing its constructive role, leading to the historic Paris Agreement at the end of the COP-21 in December, 2015. To me, this result is, among other things, also an example of India and France working together and moving forward towards a solution to a contemporary global challenge.

T.D.L.: During the State visit which he made in India from 24 to 26 January 2016, President Francois Hollande signed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi a joint statement regarding the fight against terrorism. What are the goals of the reinforcement of the bilateral cooperation in this domain and what shape and form will it take? How do New Delhi and Paris intend to work towards the implementation of the Indian project regarding the global Convention on the fight against terrorism?

H.E.Dr M.K.: The India-France joint statement on counter terrorism released during President Hollande’s visit to India is a testimony to the common will to cooperate bilaterally in fighting terrorism as well as to engage the international community to effectively address the global problem of terrorism.
Bilaterally, we have some mechanisms in this domain. The annual Strategic Dialogue, which is headed on our side by our National Security Advisor and by the Diplomatic advisor to the French President on the French side, addresses issues of bilateral cooperation at the highest level. The annual meeting of the Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism is dedicated for working details of such cooperation. We are now looking at newer forms of terrorism and ways to fight them, including cyber terrorism. Our security and intelligence issues have strengthened their engagement in training and other forms of exchange.
The French commitment to Global Convention on International Terrorism, as expressed in the Joint Statement is well appreciated and India will continue to count on French support in pushing through this agenda on multilateral fora.

T.D.L.: On 1st April 2016, to prepare the meeting on global Initiative to fight nuclear terrorism which will be hosted by India in 2017, your country announced key-measures during the Summit on nuclear safety that was held in Washington. Can you explain the main points of the assertion of India’s role in this domain? How does cooperation with France come about to consolidate the control mechanisms of this industry? Beyond that, what is your outlook on the perspectives of enhanced French presence in India in this sector?

H.E.Dr M.K.: As a responsible nuclear power, India has consistently worked for nuclear safety. India is a Party to the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and participates in all three working groups of the GICNT in the areas of Nuclear Detection, Nuclear Forensics, and Response and Mitigation. India has proposed to host a meeting of the working groups of the GICNT in India during 2017.
Apart from strengthening India’s internal nuclear safety architecture, India has also actively participated in global efforts to strengthen nuclear safety architecture. India is party to all the 13 universal instruments accepted as benchmarks for a State’s commitments to combat international terrorism. The domestic legal framework for regulating development of nuclear and radiation technologies is robust and India’s export controls list and guidelines have been harmonized with those of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and India looks forward to strengthening its contribution to shared non-proliferation objectives through membership of the export controls regimes. Multi-agency approach to counter nuclear smuggling and stricter regulations of nuclear materials, security of nuclear facilities and cyber security are other aspects of India’s nuclear security architecture.
Indo-French civil nuclear cooperation has been robust and our scientists have been working together on many issues including that of nuclear safety. While India maintains a very high benchmark for nuclear safety and disaster preparedness, I am sure our bilateral exchanges help our nuclear establishments learn from each other’s experiences. With the Jaitapur nuclear project now set to include 6 EPRs instead of 2, the French engagement on all aspects including nuclear security, will be mutually beneficial.

T.D.L.: Announced during the COP21 that was held in Paris, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was inaugurated on 26 January 2016 in the presence of the French President. 55 years after the creation of OPEC, how does this initiative illustrate India’s aspirations to promote the emergence of a new global economic order? Beyond that, how does your country intend to conciliate its goals for industrialization and the self- allocated goals that are to reduce the impacts of global warming?

H.E.Dr M.K.: The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a phenomenal initiative that paves the way for concerted global cooperation in solving one of humanity’s most pressing problems- that of climate change. Prime Minister Narendra Modi conceptualised this alliance as a global force to lead the countries that are blessed with abundant solar energy, but are typically constrained in terms of resources of finance and technology to harness it.
While India has always been on the forefront of climate action despite its consistent insistence on climate justice, this initiative marks the deep commitment and pragmatic pursuit of clean energy by India. President Hollande supported the idea since the very beginning and it was remarkable how fast things moved to ensure that the ISA was launched jointly by the President and Prime Minister on 30 November 2015 in Paris. The foundation for the permanent secretariat was laid during President Hollande’s visit to India on the occasion of our Republic Day in January. Thereafter the Steering committee met in New York in April and there has been a steady progress.
The global community has to stand firmly behind the new energy regime that is needed to fight climate change. India fulfilled its role of a constructive leader in the international negotiations on climate change that led to the Paris agreement.  ISA is a step further, to make cleaner energy accessible and affordable for the world’s poor. The international community has to work together especially by taking action on the promises made on finance and technology, to make that possible, in cooperation with the private sector as well.
India is committed to clean energy, not just for the sake of the need for reducing emissions which in fact, remain at a very low per capita level in India, but for the sake of our environment, economy and our future generations. We have always said that our energy needs are huge and none can deny our right to grow, but at the same time, we are clear that we do not want to commit the same mistakes that the rich and developed countries did during the course of their development. We have not been part of the problem, but we will most certainly be part of the solution. That is why, we are leapfrogging into cleaner energy era. Solar energy is the major part of India’s renewable energy basket. India’s most ambitious solar program is already making steady progress.
India has surpassed its solar energy target for 2015-16 more than one and a half times, commissioning 3018 MW during the year against the 2000 MW it had set itself. The Minister for coal and renewable energy, Mr Piyush Goyal has confirmed that the  target of adding 10,500 MW solar power has been set for the current fiscal year and with 21,000 MW of new solar projects out in the market, India has signaled to the world that we’re ready to lead.
According to a recent study, India is poised to become the fourth largest solar market in 2016, leaving behind three major European solar markets (UK, Germany and France) with expected new capacity addition of 5.4 GW in 2016. There is a huge opportunity to invest in India that will benefit everyone. This also shows that environmental and economic goals can work in tandem.

T.D.L.: Elected in May 2014 with a program keyed to reduce inequalities and fight against corruption, Prime Minister Modi made « Make in India » the corner stone of his economic strategy. If you take into account the permanence of a 7% average growth for the last ten years and the resilience of the Indian economy, how do you assess the impacts of this strategy in terms of job creation as well as in terms of attraction of foreign investments? In this respect, which new reforms might further promote the opening up of your country and in which branch?

H.E.Dr M.K.: Prime Minister Modi’s ambitious initiative, Make in India seeks to raise the contribution of the manufacturing sector to 25% of the GDP by 2020. It is believed that this will create an impact in allied sectors leading to job creation and provide an overall boost to the Indian economy.  100 million new jobs are expected to be created by 2022.
25 key sectors, automobile, aviation, construction, textiles, food processing, defense equipment manufacturing and electronics, have been identified to get incentives-support and the policies are being aligned to boost investments in them. The impact is manifold and it has already begun to show in various ways in just one year of the launch of the initiative. India has jumped 12 places in Ease of Doing Business 2016 ranking and 16 places on the Global Competitiveness ranking. India is first on the list of world’s most attractive investment destinations on Earnt and Young’s 2015 survey and there has been 48% growth in FDI equity inflows.
The impact will come not only from increased investment and thrust on manufacturing, but from the increased push for infrastructure development, skill development and competitiveness. Tapping the untapped potential of India’s youth is one huge ancillary gain from this initiative. The targeted projects for smart cities, digital access and startups will go a long way in creating a world class infrastructure and making our youth ready to harness the opportunities of the modern, connected world.
There are other reforms that are being undertaken. The newly passed bankruptcy Code will put in place a system of time-bound settlement for insolvency cases.  A comprehensive code for dispute resolution is also in the pipelines. Very recently, on 14 May, the Cabinet approved the National Intellectual Property Rights policy, which will likely bring India’s Intellectual Property regime in line with global standards and help improve its ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. We have a lot more to do and I believe the Government is committed to reforms and job creation.

T.D.L.: Featured among the most promising sectors liable to enhance exchanges between India and France are : space, armament, sustainable cities, railroad transport. According to you, which are the most emblematic projects in this dynamics? According to you, which are the opportunities offered by these synergies to the French SMEs? Conversely, how can these opportunities consolidate India’s economic presence in France?

H.E.Dr M.K.: There has been a thrust in bilateral economic and commercial cooperation in all the sectors that you mentioned. We have had some remarkable agreements signed in these sectors during President Hollande’s visit to India in January, 2016. The agreements cover sustainable cities, renewable energy, railways and infrastructure development.
AFD will be contributing a great deal to the Smart Cities project. 9 French companies - Alstom Transport, CAN, Dassault, EDF Energies Nouvelles, Egis, Lumiplan, Pomagalski, Schneider Electric and Thales signed MoUs with Engineering Projects India Ltd.- for cutting edge French technologies for smart and sustainable  cities, including in urban transportation and improving rail corridors. There are number of French companies involved in Defense cooperation. Alstom’s contract with Indian railways is one strong example of French industrial presence in India.
We have seen a growing trend of French SMEs establishing themselves in India and we expect it to grow further.
Indian business presence in France is increasing, however there is still immense untapped potential. There are issues of market access, information, etc., which we are working to overcome.

T.D.L.: The summit between India and the European Union which was held in Brussels on 30 March 2016 opened a new era and ended with the adoption of an action plan up to 2020. Which were its most significant progresses? Taking into account their respective economic weight and your own knowledge of commercial negotiations, how do you account for the difficult progress of the free-trade agreement between New Delhi and Brussels?

H.E.Dr M.K.: The 13th EU-India Summit in Brussels, first such Summit after 2012 was significant. The EU-India agenda for action 2020 will set out a concrete road-map for the next five years. The document covers all important aspects of India-EU relationship. India and EU have re-engaged in discussions on the free-trade agreement. All trade negotiations are challenging, this one may not be different!

T.D.L.: India is to host the 8th BRICS summit on 15 and 16 October 2016.  What is your understanding of the responsibilities that go with India’s growing power on the international scene? Having taken into consideration their strategy and security-related dimension, how would you describe New Delhi’s relations with its Chinese and Russian partners? In the broader picture, what is your understanding of the obstacles to the reform of the Security Council in which India aspires to become a permanent member?

H.E.Dr M.K.: India will be heading BRICS in a challenging time. BRICS is the face of the emerging economies of the world and their stability and success is crucial to the global stability. The theme of India’s Chairmanship of BRICS in 2016 is Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions. A five-pronged approach ‘IIIC’ is being adopted, which includes- Institution-building to further deepen and sustain BRICS cooperation, Implementation of the decisions flowing from previous (largely focussing on 2014 and 2015) Summits, Integrating and tapping synergies among the existing cooperation mechanisms, Innovation i.e. new cooperation mechanisms to tap the full potential of BRICS cooperation, and Continuity of mutually agreed existing BRICS cooperation mechanisms.
The agenda of BRICS meetings has considerably widened over the years to encompass topical global issues such as international terrorism, climate change, food and energy security, international economic and financial situation, reform of the Bretton Woods Institutions, trade protectionism and the WTO/Doha Development Round etc. Apart from the Youth Summit, on India’s initiative, a Young Scientists Forum has been established whose first meet will take place during India’s BRICS Chairmanship.
India will be in the driver’s seat this year, but it’s a common agenda of the BRICs countries, including Russia and China.
India believes that the reform of the UNSC membership is long overdue and we are enthused with the support the text-based negotiation process is getting. It is untenable that whole continents are not represented or under-represented in the permanent category of the Security Council today, it is high time that the decision-making at the High Table becomes more participative and democratic.

T.D.L.: Five years after its initiation, your country will be hosting the ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process. With regard to the Indian Prime minister’s official visit to Afghanistan in end 2015, how do you analyze the evolution of regional cooperation, challenged as it is by extremism, drug-trafficking and development? Since he made a surprise and historic visit to Peshawar on last 25 December, how do you comprehend the resuming of a peace process between India and Pakistan?

H.E.Dr M.K.: India is a key player and the fiercest advocate for regional peace and stability in the region. India has been deeply involved in Afghanistan’s development and strengthening of its democracy. We believe in dialogue, but we insist that Pakistan cannot continue the denial of the impact of terrorism on bilateral relationship.

T.D.L.: As a testimony of the renewed strength he breathed into Indian diplomacy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi re-initiated the cooperation with the countries of the Indian Ocean such as Sri Lanka or Mauritius. In respect of your expertise in this domain, how would you describe the assets of India’s leadership in the region? How is its commitment to maritime security to develop? More globally, in what measure are we observing the re-emergence of an Indian « soft power » in the region and beyond, like in Africa?

H.E.Dr M.K.:  Historically, India has always been a major Indian Ocean power. The ocean itself is named after India. Reinvigorating India’s links with the region is a natural progression of Prime Minister Modi’s foreign policy initiative.
Maritime cooperation is developing, both with Indian Ocean islands and littoral States and with countries that have a stake in the region. This year in January, the first ever Indo-French bilateral maritime dialogue took place in Paris. India wants to have a greater role in the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
India has civilizational links with most countries in the region. For centuries, our merchants and sea-farers have influenced each other’s cultures. Today we have a large diaspora in the region and they are a vital link between our countries.
As far as Africa is concerned, India’s engagement has always been constructive, mutually beneficial and focussed on enabling the Africans to take charge of their development, based on learning from experiences of India. Our ‘soft power’ is civilizational and yet, in modern times, technology, education, innovation are ways in which we have reached places where we enjoy lot of goodwill and support.  This relationship received a boost after the India Africa Forum Summit held in Delhi, in October 2015 and is definitely headed towards more success.     

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