Hollande Visits India to Push Rafale Deal

French President Hollande was the Chief Guest on India’s Republic Day celebrations.

A French military contingent too marched with Indian troops in the Parade.

The bilateral Agreement on Defence Cooperation concluded in 2006 was extended for another ten years.

A successful air exercise Garuda in June 2014 and naval exercise Varuna in April 2015 was concluded in which the French carrier strike group participated. The French multi-mission frigate Provence will participate in the International Fleet Review at Visakhapatnam in February 2016.

The Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) on the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts in flyaway condition was concluded in the visit. The question of price remained unresolved. (As it is, notwithstanding the “Make in India” campaign, the normal countervailing duty of 12.5 percent is exempted on the import, this discourages domestic manufacturing).

The two leaders also agreed to intensify cooperation between the Indian and French Armed Forces in the fields of cyber security, Special Forces and intelligence-sharing to tackle the common threat of terrorism.

Nuclear Units at Jaitapur

In pursuance of the 2008 Agreement on the Development of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy between India and France, the two leaders encouraged their industrial companies to conclude techno-commercial negotiations by the end of 2016 for the construction of six nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur, with due consideration to cost viability of the project, economical financing from the French side, collaboration on transfer of technology and cost-effective localisation of manufacturing in India for large and critical components in accord with Government of India’s “Make in India” initiative.

France acknowledged the need for India to have lifetime guarantee of fuel supply and renewed its commitment to reliable, uninterrupted and continued access to nuclear fuel supply throughout the entire lifetime of the plants, as stated in the 2008 bilateral IGA on nuclear cooperation.

The two leaders agreed on a roadmap of cooperation to speed up discussions on the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in 2016. Their shared aim is to start the implementation of the project in early 2017.

In this context, the two leaders noted with satisfaction, the ongoing time-bound implementation of cooperation between AREVA and L&T under the Memorandum of Understanding signed in April 2015 for large-scale localisation of components for the nuclear power project at Jaitapur, as well as the good progress in pre-engineering studies for the project being carried out by AREVA in collaboration with NPCIL.

PM Modi and President Hollande welcomed the initialing of revised MOU between EDF and NPCIL for the construction of six EPR units at Jaitapur.

France welcomed the decision by the Government of India to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.

Clean Energy

The two leaders stressed the importance of climate-oriented investments between the two countries. In this context, they welcomed the partnership of EDF EN and SITAC with a commitment to invest 155 million Euros in 2016. The new JV EDF EN/SITAC plans to invest 1 billion Euros by 2021.

The two leaders noted with satisfaction, the support provided by AFD (French Development Agency) to enhance energy efficiency in India, with the ongoing cooperation with the public ESCO EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Limited) for the promotion of LED lighting, and its future support to the construction of green housing, especially for lower income groups.

Smart Cities

The 3 MoUs signed in January 2016 between the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the State of Maharashtra, the Union Territory of Puducherry and the French Development Agency for extending technical assistance for the development of the 3 cities of Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry respectively, as Smart Cities in India.

The proposed collaboration between AFD (French Agency for Development) and the Government of India for financing projects related to urban water and sanitation in Puducherry.

The partnerships between Engineering Projects India Limited (EPI) and nine French companies who will be able to contribute to major infrastructures projects in India.

Semi Bullet Trains from Punjab, Alstom

The two Leaders stressed the importance of clean transport and recalled the Protocol of Cooperation signed between the Indian Ministry of Railways and French National Railways SNCF in April 2015 in the field of Semi high speed rail and station development. The two Leaders welcomed the follow-up Agreement signed in December 2015 between the SNCF and Ministry

of Railways to support a semi high-speed project for up-gradation of Delhi-Chandigarh line to 200 kmph. The two Leaders also welcomed the signing of the agreement between SNCF and Ministry of Railways on cooperation in the station renovation projects for Ambala and Ludhiana railway stations.

The leaders also welcomed the Joint Venture agreement signed between the Indian Railways and Alstom for the supply of 800 high horse power locomotives manufactured in India and the shareholding agreement signed between them during the visit to finalize the investment in the electric locomotives factory in Madhepura, Bihar.

Space

Recalling the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Indo-French space cooperation in 2015, the leaders welcomed the signing of two Implementing Arrangements between their Space Agencies for cooperation in definition studies on a future joint Thermal Infrared Earth Observation mission and hosting of the French instrument for data collection on India’s Oceasnsat-3 satellite. The Leaders expressed confidence that these missions would contribute significantly to the monitoring of the environment, weather, water resources and coastal zones and further strengthen the partnership between the two countries. They also welcomed the announcement of collaboration through the participation of the Centre National d’études spatiales (CNES) in future space and planetary exploration missions of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).