Monday, 12 March 2018

French President Macron India visit; Macron seems to be emerging as world leader fighting climate change, and promoting solar energy, global trade, inclusive world and global security order




[PM Narendra Modi:] At the ceremonial welcome for President Emmanuel Macron in New Delhi.

Above pic and caption courtesy:
https://www.facebook.com/narendramodi/photos/a.10150164299700165.421791.177526890164/10160183160445165/, 10th March 2018

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]

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[PM] Shri Narendra Modi meets Prez Emmanuel Macron at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi ahead of the bilateral talks.



Above pics and caption courtesy:
https://www.facebook.com/FranceinIndia/posts/1226146074183780, 10th March 2018
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President Kovind hosted a banquet in honour of the French President Emmanuel Macron and Heads of State/Government attending the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance at Rashtrapati Bhavan

Welcoming Presidents, Vice Presidents, Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers from over 45 countries as well as Heads of International Organisations, the President thanked them for their support for the International Solar Alliance. He said that the International Solar Alliance is embarking on a gleaming journey. The presence of so many distinguished leaders from all corners of our planet at the Conference tomorrow is an assertion that “We did not inherit our future from our ancestors; we have borrowed it from our children”. It is this shared realisation of our debt to the future that has led us to craft the International Solar Alliance










Above text and pics courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/PresidentOfIndia/posts/357082888138043,
https://www.facebook.com/PresidentOfIndia/photos/pcb.357082888138043/357082584804740/, 10th March 2018

French president Emmanuel Macron seems to emerge as a world leader fighting climate change, promoting global trade and an inclusive world, and supporting global security order preventing hegemony of any country(ies)!

An interview French President Emmanuel Macron had with Group Editor of India Today, Raj Chegappa, few days before his visit to India, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCxvzR3QTkQ, around 35 mins, published on 8th Mar 2018 by India Today.

I found the interview to be fascinating. President Macron, speaking in English, talks about the fight against climate change where he says PM Modi has played an important role in helping him ensure that the Paris Accord survived the exit of USA Federal govt. He speaks about the International Solar Alliance where France and India are leading countries and were to have (it was held on 11th March 2018) a founding conference in India along with many partner countries including many from Africa. He talks about Africa being very important in this climate change fight.

Macron talks about the security aspects of Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean where he says France is very much involved due to territories (small islands, I think) it has in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. He talks about preventing hegemony of any power in these Oceans. He talks of the strong France and India defence relationship and how France and India could work together in ensuring security in Indian Ocean, telling us that France has the second largest navy in the world today. [Ravi: The last bit (second largest navy) is news to me - wonder whether I got it correctly!]

The Scorpene submarine and the Rafale fighter jets are examples of French-Indian defence related relationship where there seems to be significant percentage of production in India!

Macron has been in India earlier as a banker and so seems to be quite well acquainted with India. [Ravi: That's another thing I did not know about Macron.]

He speaks very well about cultural aspects of India and how India has had to manage balancing many things (in its culture over history). He feels that this balancing aspect and inclusive culture aspect is important for the future for the world. [Ravi: I like that very much. I am all for inclusive and pluralistic cultural and religious (including freedom to not have any religion) world.]

He lays stress on youth engagement. [Ravi: He met some youth in India - I saw part of that video too]. He wants more interactions including stints in each other's country between French and Indian youth. He talks about seeing and being impressed by the energy of the youth in Bangalore, India, especially those in the tech sector there, during his stint as a banker in India.

The TV interview seems to have been done in (one of) his French presidential offices in Paris. On a table to the side you can see a 'MAKE OUR PLANET GREAT AGAIN' placard, which is visible most of the time the camera is on Macron. [Ravi: I love  and fully support Macron's 'Make the Planet Great Again' motto.]

Macron is asked about his 'optimism' about preserving European Union in the face of challenges and in that context, the election results of Italy are mentioned. Macron says he is not only 'optimistic', he is 'determined' to deliver! In the context of results in Italy 'and so on', Macron says, "you have a big rise of populism. Here in France, French people decided exactly the opposite. They decided about openness, modernity and strong transformation of the country".

Around 28:03 in the video, Macron says, "And my second obsession is about Europe. We need a much stronger and integrated Europe. A Europe which protects, a Europe which better educates, a Europe which better invests, to have a (nat...?) alongside the US and China at the global scale. And a natural partner for some key countries like India. And I think it's, I would say to speak in direct terms, it's money time. If European leaders are not in a situation to decide and accelerate right now they will decide the (factor?) to dismantle or put at risk, the European project."

Macron talks about his support for global trade rules and refers to Indian PM Modi's speech at Davos where he showed that he too supports and respects global trade rules.

Overall, I must say that I am very happy to see a young (around 40 years old) President Macron of France play what comes across to me now as a leadership role in the world in terms of fighting climate change which includes promoting solar energy across the world including Africa, stepping up France's role in ensuring global security order without hegemony of any particular country or set of countries, encouraging youth of various cultures to interact with other (and thereby learn about each other), and in promoting an inclusive (and pluralistic) world.

Recent India-France Joint Statement



Above pic courtesy:
https://www.facebook.com/FranceinIndia/photos/a.334488666682863.1073741831.323241151140948/1226277190837335/, 10th March 2018

I am very enthused to read the recent India-France joint statement whose link is given below. It shows how much co-operation and partnership there is between France and India on so many different matters in varied areas like defense, fighting climate change, international solar alliance, trade and culture.

India & France issue joint statement, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbYaLy4i0uI, 33 mins, 10th March 2018

Hmm. I had read about the 14 agreements on a variety of areas exchanged between France and India yesterday, I think. The initial part of this video has the ceremonial exchange of those agreements. I did not realize that India and France had such deep relations. Great to know about this close relationship between India and France.

PM Modi speaks in Hindi in his part of the statement. President Macron speaks in French, second part of which is translated to English in the video. I enjoyed hearing the French of President Macron even though I did not follow almost anything of it :-).

I know a very little bit of French - 'an peu, tres peu' as I lived in Brussels, Belgium for 15 months some decades ago. Most of the Belgians who live in Brussels speak French. Many speak at least some English too. So one could manage without knowing French.

But two French sentences I still remember from those days are: "Je ne parle pas Fransseh. Parlez vour Anglais, sil vous plait?" meaning 'I cannot speak French. Can you speak (In) English, please?' :-).

Given below are some extracts from http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PMO=3&PRID=1523710

Prime Minister's Office

India-France Joint Statement during State visit of President of France to India (March 10, 2018)

Posted On: 10 MAR 2018 4:41PM by PIB Delhi

1 At the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the President of the French Republic, Mr. Emmanuel Macron paid a State Visit to India from 10 to 12 March 2018. The two leaders co-hosted the Founding Summit of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi on 11 March 2018. The leaders held wide ranging and constructive discussions and underlined the growing convergence between the two countries on regional and international issues.

2 On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the strategic partnership between India and France, the first to be established by India, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to furthering it and decided to take it to a new level by agreeing to hold biennialsummits between the Prime Minister of India and the President of the French Republic. Both leaders agreed to deepen and strengthen the bilateral ties based on shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights.

3 Recalling the valiant sacrifices made by Indian and French soldiers during the First World War, Prime Minister Modi expressed his willingness for India to participate in the closing of the First World War Centenary celebrations, which will take place on 11 November 2018 in Paris. He also welcomed the organization of the Paris Peace Forum on this occasion. President Macron thanked Prime Minister Modi for India’s support to this initiative.

...

[I Strategic Partnership]

5 The leaders appreciated the deepening interactions in the maritime domain for enhanced cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region. In that context, they welcomed the "Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region”, as a guiding beacon for such partnership. The leaders reiterated that this cooperation will be crucial in order to maintain the safety of international sea lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications in accordance with the international law, for countering maritime terrorism and piracy, for building maritime domain awareness, for capacity building and for greater coordination in regional/international fora in the region.

6 The two leaders welcomed the signing of the "Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Republic of France for the provision of reciprocal logistics support between their Armed Forces”, which seeks to extend logistical support on reciprocal access to respective facilities for Indian and French armed forces. The agreement is symbolic of the strategic depth and maturity reached in India-France defence ties.

...

[Space Cooperation]

19 Building on the historical and formidable linkages in the arena of civilian space, the leaders welcomed the "India-France Joint Vision for Space Cooperation” which spells out the concrete areas of future cooperation in this field. They acknowledged, in particular, the ongoing cooperation between their space agencies to realize the third joint satellite mission – TRISHNA, meant for eco-system stress and water use monitoring and also accommodation of French instrument on India’s OCEANSAT-3 satellite.

[II Economic, Educational, Science & Technology, Cultural & People to People Cooperation]

20 Prime Minister Modi and President Macron noted with satisfaction the depth of the ties between the two countries, particularly in the economic, educational, scientific, cultural and tourism sectors.

21 They welcomed the signing of a bilateral partnership agreement on migration and mobility, which will facilitate student and professional mobility between France and India by simplifying the conditions for entry and long term stay in the two countries.

22 Prime Minister Modi and President Macron appreciated the role of continuing people-to-people exchanges between the two countries and underscored the necessity of greater youth exchange programmes for promotion of understanding of each other’s cultures. They welcomed in this regard the launch of the "France-India Programme for the Future”, a French initiative aimed at fostering youth exchanges,which are vital for future growth of India-France ties.

[Economic Exchanges]

23 The leaders noted with satisfaction the involvement of French companies in several new and ongoing manufacturing partnership projects in India. They were pleased with the robust expansion of research and development conducted by these companies in India. They equally highlighted the attractiveness of France for Indian investors.

24 Both sides noted with satisfaction the growth in bilateral trade during the recent period, and expressed their desire that this momentum be sustained with the aim of raising trade in goods to 15 billion euros by 2022. They encouraged SMEs and mid-cap companies to play a growing role in the economic and commercial exchanges between the two countries. Reaffirming their commitment to facilitate a conducive environment for enhancing bilateral trade and investment, the leaders:

a. Underlined the importance of regular and sustained economic cooperation dialogue through the India-France Joint Committee,

b. Welcomed the new recommendations presented by the Co-Chairs of the CEO Forum in Delhi in March 2018.

...

[Educational and S&T Cooperation]

26 The leaders recognized with satisfaction a vibrant educational cooperation within the Governmental framework and amongst Universities and academic institutes and encouraged them to increase the number and quality of student exchanges, with the aim of reaching 10,000 students by 2020. They welcomed in this regard the signing of an agreement for the mutual recognition of degrees, which will facilitate the pursuit of higher education by Indian students in France and French students in India and enhance their employability. They welcomed the holding of the Knowledge Summit, the first Indo-French conference on research and higher education, in New Delhi on 10th and 11th March 2018.

27 Recognizing that skill development is a key priority for the two countries, both leaders welcomed the important role played by French companies in India in training and skilling of the Indian workforce and encouraged them to engage even more actively in the sector. Both sides looked forward to further tie ups and formal arrangements between skill development institutions and agencies of the two countries.

28 The leaders recognized with satisfaction, the role played by the Indo-French Centre for Promotion of Advance Research (CEFIPRA) and congratulated it on its 30th anniversary, which was celebrated in 2017. They encouraged CEFIPRA to expand its role through interactive continuum between research, market and societal needs by linking the discoveries from fundamental research and their technological applications. In order to expand the scope and content of the bilateral cooperation in science, technology and innovation, the leaders emphasized the need to convene the Joint Committee on S&T in 2018.

[Cultural Exchanges]

29 The two leaders lauded the success of ‘Namasté France’ festival organized in 2016, which featured 83 events in 41 cities of France, in highlighting Indian cultural heritage in France and the success of the third edition of ‘Bonjour India’, which featured 300 projects in 33 cities of India. The leaders greeted the year long ‘India@70’ celebrations being organized by India in France.

30 Noting the importance of literature in the promotion of friendly relations between the two countries, the leaders welcomed the participation of India as a Guest of Honour in the 42nd edition of ‘Salon du Livre de Paris’ (French Book Fair) in the year 2020. Reciprocally, France will participate as a Guest of Honour in New Delhi World Book Fair in 2022.

31 Prime Minister Modi and President Macron noted with satisfaction the strong upsurge in tourist exchanges between the two countries (+69% growth of Indian tourists to France since 2014). The two countries set the target of one million Indian tourists in France and 335,000 French tourists in India by 2020.

[III. Partnership for the planet]

32 The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to lead the fight against climate change, based on the principles of climate justice, fostering climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development. They committed to fully implement the Paris Agreement at the COP24 and further on, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a part of an irreversible global process at combating climate change for the benefit of all humanity. They stressed the positive contribution of the One Plant Summit in Paris on 12 December 2017 to this objective.

33 The French President thanked the Indian Prime Minister for India’s support to the initiative to work on a Global Pact for the Environment.

[International Solar Alliance]

34 The two leaders welcomed the entry into force of the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and looked forward to co-hosting the ISA Founding Conference on 11th March 2018 in New Delhi. The leaders underlined their commitment to furthering and deepening concrete projects and programmes under the aegis of ISA to mobilize affordable financing for massive solar energy deployment.

[Renewable energy]

35 The two leaders reaffirmed that the strengthening of the India-French technological cooperation on renewable energy was a common priority for encouraging the emergence and dissemination of innovation in all the sectors. They stressed the importance of mobilizing public and private funds to support the development of solar energy. In this regard, they welcomed the establishment, within the International Solar Alliance, of an international committee of chambers of industry, and the willingness of MEDEF, SER, FICCI and CII among others to join it.

[Sustainable mobility]

36 The leaders noted that efficient modes of transportation with low GHG emissions are an essential condition for the sustainable development and economic growth of India and France. They recalled the strong ambitions of the two countries with regard to the development of electric mobility. In this regard, they welcomed the signing of a Statement of Intent between the French Ministry for Ecological and Inclusive Transition and NITI Aayog, which will be supported by French technical assistance provided by French Development Agency (AFD).

37 The leaders reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to strengthening their railway cooperation and noted with satisfaction the completion of feasibility study for semi-high speed upgrade of the Delhi-Chandigarh section and station development study of Ambala and Ludhiana stations. Both sides agreed that future technical discussions on upgradation of speed of the Delhi-Chandigarh sector will necessarily take into account the passenger and freight traffic load on the section and the complexities it entails. The leaders also welcomed the establishment of a permanent Indo-French Railway Forum, bringing together the French Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition, and SNCF (French Railways) on the one hand, and the Indian Ministry of Railways on the other, to pave the way for industrial cooperation between the two countries.

[Smart Cities]

38. Prime Minister Modi and President Macron noted with satisfaction the excellent Indo-French cooperation on sustainable cities and Smart Cities, marked by numerous cases of innovation sharing and fruitful collaborations between French and Indian stakeholders, They welcomed the exemplary cooperation programme in the three Smart Cities of Chandigarh, Nagpur, and Puducherry, and the extension of AFD’s technical assistance programme under the framework of this Mission. They welcomed the signing of the loan agreement between the AFD and the Government of India for 100 million euros in support of the Smart Cities Mission.
...

[IV. Expanding Global Strategic Convergences]

45 The leaders reaffirmed their support for the strategic partnership between the European Union and India, based on shared principles and values, as well as a commitment to a rules-based international order. They agreed that India and the EU should deepen their cooperation on multilateral and security issues, as well as on economic, trade and climate change issues and welcomed the outcome of the 14th EU-India summit held in New Delhi on 6 October 2017. They expressed support to the efforts of both sides to re-engage actively towards timely relaunching of negotiations for a comprehensive and mutually beneficial EU-India Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).

46 India and France acknowledged the importance of connectivity in today’s globalised world. They underlined that connectivity initiatives must be based on key principles of international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency; follow social and environmental standards, principles of financial responsibility, accountable debt-financing practices; and must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity.

47 India and France are committed to implement the G20 decisions and to work together with other G20 members to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

48 The leaders reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and the importance of enhancing free, fair, and open trade for achieving sustainable growth and development. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together with all members of the WTO, which would reaffirm the centrality of the rules-based multilateral trading system and its importance for open and inclusive global trade.

49 India and France are willing to work together to improve the global economic and financial governance architecture, reduce excessive global imbalances, promote inclusive and interconnected development and tackle common global challenges, including terrorism, poverty, hunger, job creation, climate change, energy security, and inequality including gender inequality, as a basis for sustainable development.

50 Indian and France share a common interest to cooperate and collaborate for the stability and prosperity of Africa, including through development oriented initiatives such as capacity building programs and joint projects. Building on their first dialogue on Africa in June 2017 in Paris, both leaders reiterated their willingness to implement common projects on the ground. The leaders also welcomed the establishment of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, which demonstrates the willingness of African nations to take charge of their own security to address the threat of terrorism, as well as the serious challenges posed by transnational organized crime in the region.

51 The leaders reiterated their support to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the values it promotes. They shared their commitment to proactively contribute towards the priorities of IORA.

52 With the aim of broadening the canvas of such like-minded convergences, it was agreed to initiate regular expert level official dialogues on East Asia, as well as on the Middle East. An annual Policy and Planning Dialogue was also instituted between the two Foreign Ministries.

53 President Macron thanked Prime Minister Modi and the Government of India for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation and looked forward to welcoming him in France.

--- end extracts from pib.nic.in ----
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Founding Conference of International Solar Alliance

[Ministry of External Affairs, India:] We thank France for jointly launching and hosting the #ISA Founding Conference in New Delhi.
President of France Emmanuel Macron speaking at the inaugural session.




Above pics and caption courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/MEAINDIA/posts/1725727117449079, 11th March 2018




Above pic courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/FranceinIndia/photos/a.323280521137011.1073741827.323241151140948/1226829810782073/, 11th March 2018

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Prez Emmanuel Macron and first lady Brigitte Macron paying homage at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi, at Rajghat.




Above caption and pics courtesy:
https://www.facebook.com/FranceinIndia/posts/1226129080852146, 10th March 2018


[I thank Facebook posts of President of India Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, Embassy of France in India, Ministry of External Affairs, India, India Today's youtube video (and President Macron of France) and website pib.nic.in and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above pics, transcript snippets (short snippets of President Macron's words in India Today video) and extracts from their posts, video and website, on this blog post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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