French FM Jean-Yves Le Drian and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval held discussions at the 35th session of the Indo-French strategic dialogue in Paris

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval held discussions on Saturday, 6 November at the 35th session of the Indo-French strategic dialogue in Paris. According to the official press release by French Embassy in India, Le Drian and Doval followed up in the meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi which took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome. French Foreign Minister laid emphasis on commitment to further elevate the Indo-French strategic partnership and strengthening the range of aspects.

French mission said, “Following up on the meeting between the President of the French Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron and the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, on the sidelines of the G20 in Rome, the Minister stressed our commitment to deepening the Indo-French strategic partnership and strengthening its various aspects, particularly in the areas of defence, space, civil nuclear energy and security.”

“Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed the priorities in the fight against climate change with his interlocutor. He underscored the importance of the mutual trust between France and India, as well as that of the Indo-French partnership in working to strengthen multilateralism and defend a free and open Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law. The Minister called for continued Indo-French coordination, including at the UN Security Council, on Afghanistan,” it added.

In an update on Twitter, the French Foreign Minister said that he is “very happy” to have exchanged views with Doval and PM Modi. He added, “Strategic partnership is essential for strengthening multilateralism and the defence of an Indopacifique, free, open and based on the rule of law.”

Meanwhile, after the United States, UK and Australia announced a landmark defence and security partnership called ‘AUKUS’ intended to “protect and defend” their “shared interests in the Indo-Pacific.” France and the EU expressed their anger as they were excluded from the pact. Recently, the French envoy criticised the Australian government’s handling of the AUKUS defence deal as the rift between both nations continue to further deteriorate. As per The Guardian report, French ambassador Jean-Pierre Th├ębault said that the Scott Morrison-led government in Australia acted in a way that was “out of this world” and not beneficial to friends. He reportedly also questioned if any other partner could trust the “value of Australia’s signature and commitment.”

Macron Met PM Modi In Rome

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, 30 October tweeted in Hindi after meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome. Just moments later, even PM Modi showcased a similar gesture by tweeting about his meeting with Macron in French. In Hindi, Macron highlighted the relationship between both countries and said, “We share common ambitions for the environment, health and innovation with India. We will continue to work together towards concrete results, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Meanwhile, PM Modi talked about the discussion he had with the French President on further elevating the cooperation between India and France in a range of areas. In French, the Prime Minister said, “Nice to meet my friend, President Emmanuel Macron in Rome. Our talks revolved around strengthening cooperation in various fields and fostering people-to-people relations.”

The Prime Minister's Office said in a statement that both the leaders held a bilateral meeting in Rome, Italy on Saturday where both the leaders “expressed satisfaction at the state of the wide-ranging India-France Strategic Partnership.” The PMO’s stated that Prime Minister welcomed the European Union’s (EU) Indo-Pacific Strategy which was released in September 2021. He also thanked Macron for France’s leadership in the strategy.