India and France are expected to finalise an agreement that will enable the countries to work more closely in the areas of digital and cyber security, when the Indian Prime Minister meets the French President in Paris on 22 August.
As the quantity and value of electronic information has increased, so have business models and efforts of criminals, that use the cyberspace as a convenient and profitable way of carrying out their activities anonymously. Hence, the security of India’s cyberspace has become an important part of the national agenda.
The two sides are likely to sign a pact on maritime surveillance. News reports noted that both countries have planned the launch of 8-10 satellites as part of a “constellation” for maritime surveillance in the region. This will be India’s largest space cooperation with any country so far.
Several crucial sea lanes of communications pass through the Indian Ocean, a region critical to the strategic interests of India and France. While the Indian Ocean region is the prime focus for New Delhi, Paris has its territories spread across the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Minister of External Affairs (MEA) said that discussions are expected to broadly focus on reaffirming France and India as key strategic and like-minded partners. It will strengthen their defence partnerships including future defence acquisitions, progress on the setting up of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant project, convergent strategic, political priorities in the Indo-Pacific, and related operational needs.
According to the MEA, India and France have had traditionally close and friendly relations. In 1998, the two countries entered into Strategic Partnership which is emblematic of their convergence of views on a range of international issues apart from a close and growing bilateral relationship.
The areas of defence, space, and civil nuclear cooperation constitute the three principal pillars of India’s strategic partnership. Apart from these traditional fields, India and France are increasingly engaged in new areas of cooperation like climate change, sustainable growth and development, and the International Solar Alliance, etc.
India and France support a multi-polar world order. France has continued to support India’s claim for permanent membership of the Security Council and the reforms of the United Nations. France has provided consistent support to India’s candidature for the membership of all the four multilateral export control regimes. These are the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA), and the Australia Group (AG).