PIB – October 8 , 2019


GS- 2nd Paper

Topic- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

India-France Relations and cooperation

Context

Strong cooperation between India and France will continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability: Raksha Mantri

Raksha Mantri formally received the new Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) from France.

Background of India- France Relationship

  • Among the P-5 countries, France along with Russia has been extremely supportive of India s candidature of the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member.
  • France has lent support to India in its fight against cross-border terrorism at the regional level in South Asia.
  • France has time and again called on countries to stop terrorism originating from their territories in the South Asian region.
  • Defence cooperation with France began in the 1950s when India acquired the Ouragan aircraft.
  • France also provided and continued with the Mystères, Jaguar (Anglo-French), Mirage 2000.
  • Both countries started joint naval exercises ‘Varuna’ in 1983.
  • France was the first western country with which India established a Strategic Partnership.
  • France helped India set up the Sriharikota launch site assisted in engine development and hosting of payloads.
  • France made India its preferred partner in the Indian Ocean Region.

Defence Cooperation

  • Defence cooperation between India and France increased Since 1980s after India adopted the policies of diversify its military procurement to reduce over-reliance on USSR.
  • The new commitment to go beyond the buyer-seller relationship in the field of weapons procurement.
  • Synergies between India’s large defence market and the French strengths in armament production.

Major defence deal with France

  • India signed a deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets through government to government deal
  • Under P-75 Scorpene Project six Scorpene submarines were to be built with technology transfer agreement.
  • The first two submarine Kalvari and Khanderi have been built.
  • Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL) manufacturing facility set up at Mihan in Maharashtra.
  • DRAL is a joint venture between French aerospace firm, Dassault Aviation, and India’s Reliance Group.
  • It is the first private facility for production of Rafale fighter jets and Falcon civilian aircraft.
  • India and France involved in regular defence exercises, namely Exercise Shakti (Army), Exercise Varuna (Navy), Exercise Garuda(Air Force)

Space Cooperation 

  • ISRO and the French Space Agency (CNES) are cooperating for many decades.
  • ISRO launched its GSAT-17 from French Launchpad Kourou in 2017.
  • France is a major supplier of components and equipment for the Indian space programme.

Civil Nuclear Cooperation

  • India-France relationship progressed through many landmark agreements like Strategic Partnership agreement 1998 and Civil Nuclear agreement 2008.
  • After the 1998 nuclear test by India, France was the major nuclear country which understood India’s security compulsions for its nuclear test.
  • France was the first country with which India entered into civil nuclear agreement following NSG waiver.
  • General Framework Agreement and the Early Works Agreement between NPCIL and AREVA for the implementation Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) were signed in 2010.

Economic relation

  • The India-France Administrative Economic and Trade Committee (AETC) provide an appropriate framework to assess and find ways to further promote bilateral trade and investment.
  • India’s trade relationship with EU is mired in many roadblocks which are reflected in the stalled FTA negotiations with EU. This inertia also affects trade relation with France.
  • Trade is highly concentrated in certain niche areas like defence supplies.
  • In the backdrop of Brexit, France can act as an entry point for Indian businesses in Europe.

Way forward

  • The defence cooperation with France focus to equip Indian Air Force and enhance its capabilities.
  • The new Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will make India stronger and will give a boost to its air dominance exponentially to ensure peace and security in the region.
  • The strong cooperation between India and France will continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability.
  • French social security laws, long-term student visas, and the facility to work for two-three years to pay off student loans are some of the areas that need to be worked out so that more effective cooperation can take place between the two countries.

For Prelims-

Rafale Combat Aircraft

Context

The first Rafale handing over Ceremony to India was held in Merignac, France.

Highlights

  • The Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale aircraft procurement was signed between the Government of India and Government of France on 23 September, 2016.
  • Rafale was introduced in 2001, is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft designed and built by French company Dassault Aviation.
  • The aircraft is considered one of the most potent combat jets globally.
  • The fighter jet is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.
  • The aircraft is fitted with an onboard oxygen generation system (OBOGS) which suppresses the need for liquid oxygen re-filling or ground support for oxygen production.
  • It is capable of carrying out a wide range of missions including air-defence/air-superiority, reconnaissance, close air support dynamic targeting, air-to-ground precision strike/interdiction, anti-ship attacks, nuclear deterrence and refueling.
  • The aircraft is available in three main variants
  1. Rafale C single-seat land-based version,
  2. Rafale B twin-seat land-based version
  3. Rafale M single-seat carrier-based version.

Significance

  • The Rafale is referred to as an ‘omnirole’ aircraft by Dassault.
  • The company claims that it has the capability to perform several actions at the same time, such as firing air-to-air missiles at a very low altitude, air-to-ground and interceptions during the same sortie.