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India-France: The power in the making

In the wake of ongoing distress in the global trade, French President Emmanuel Macron’s just-concluded visit to India is significant in many criterions. After the Brexit (Britain’s exit from EU), the onus of European Union appears to be on the shoulders of two of the largest economies of Europe, i.e. France and Germany. Once touching the horizons of fame globally, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Markel is now battling to uphold her foothold in German politics. France, in the present scenario, has a very crucial role to play in the European Union and needless to say, Macron has portrayed himself as a leader with strong willpower and has managed to bring the undeniable changes. His visit to India was marked by cooperation in distinctive areas, especially in strategic assistance. Though India and France have enjoyed a very congenial relationship for a long time, still the countries couldn’t take it forward beyond the defense trade. India has always preferred France to fulfill its incessant needs for fighter planes and high defense technology. But Macron’s latest visit has added new dimensions to the India-France relationship.

Following a dialogue between PM Modi and President Macron last week, the two world leaders signed a very crucial and strategic pact giving both the countries access to each other’s naval bases to deploy warships in the hour of need. Several other pacts in the field of defense, atomic energy, education, space research, and counterterrorism have been signed between the two nations. In addition, France will intensify the development of a nuclear power plant in India. But does it point towards Jaitapur, where continuous protest has stalled the construction of nuclear power plant or a new project? However, India and France’s agreement for allowing the strategic access to each other’s naval bases has drawn a significant attention of diplomatic pundits across the world, most specifically that of China. China’s adamant stance concerning the South China Sea as well as its ambitious ‘One Belt, One Road’ plan has made the world powers to rethink and reform their strategic and diplomatic policies.

In this time of global unease, India enjoys no exception. The growing activeness of China in the South China Sea and more significantly in the Indian Ocean has created an alarming situation for India too. Construction of Gwadar port in Pakistan, leasing Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port for ninety nine years, purchasing of several islets in Maldives and its insolent activities from Indian Ocean’s Suez Canal to Strait of Malacca coupled with the growing movements of its troops again in Doklam sector, have baffled India and hence, raised worrisome questions on its security. In this backdrop, the strategic pact with France has sent out a clear message to China. Though none of the two leaders mentioned China, their crystal clear intentions could be easily seen through.

 

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