Your Excellency and my dear friend President Macron, delegates from both the countries, media friends, Namaskar!

I express my gratitude to President Macron for this warm welcome in the beautiful city of Paris. I also extend my heartfelt greetings to the people of France on their National Day. This day is considered a symbol of values such as liberty, equality, and fraternity in the world. These values are also the foundation of the relations between our two democratic nations. Today, I feel honoured to be chief guest in this celebration. I am glad that the contingents from all the three services of the Indian armed forces participated to add grace and dignity to this occasion. We witnessed the flypast of the Indian Rafale aircraft, and our naval ship was also present at the port of France. It was a magnificent sight to witness our growing cooperation in the sea, land, and air domains together. Yesterday, President Macron honoured me with the highest national award of France. This honour is the honour of the 1.4 billion Indians.

Friends,

We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of our Strategic Partnership. Building upon the strong foundation of the past 25 years, we are preparing a roadmap for the next 25 years. Bold and ambitious targets are being set in this regard. The people of India have also pledged to make our country a developed nation during this period. We see France as a natural partner in this journey. Over the next two days, we have the opportunity to extensively discuss cooperation in all areas of mutual interest. Strengthening our economic ties is our shared priority.

We are identifying new initiatives to increase cooperation in areas like Renewable Energy, Green Hydrogen, Artificial Intelligence, semiconductors, cyber security and digital technology. An agreement has been reached to launch India's Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in France. We are laying emphasis on connecting the start-up and innovation ecosystems of both the countries. Together with like-minded nations, we should strive for the democratization of technology supply chains. Climate change and environmental security remain our shared and top priorities. In this direction, we have already established the International Solar Alliance, which has now become a movement. We now aim to work rapidly on the roadmap for blue economy and ocean governance. We will progress together on a joint initiative against single-use plastic. I welcome the long-term agreement for LNG exports between Indian Oil and Total, the French company. This will strengthen our clean energy transition goals. Shortly, we will also participate in the India-France CEOs Forum. In-depth discussions will be held with business representatives from both countries to enhance economic cooperation.

Friends,

Defence cooperation has been a strong pillar of our relationship. It is a symbol of deep mutual trust between the two countries. France is an important partner in Make in India and ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’. Today, we will talk about co-production and co-development of new technologies in India in the field of defence. Be it submarines or naval ships, we want to work together to meet the needs of not only our own, but also of other friendly countries. There are possibilities to enhance cooperation between our defence space agencies. We are progressing in the production of MRO facilities, spare parts, and engines for helicopters by French companies in India. We will strengthen our collaboration in this regard. We will discuss the potential for cooperation in Small and Advanced Modular Reactors in the field of civil nuclear cooperation. Today, the entire nation is excited about the successful launch of Chandrayaan in India. It is a significant achievement by our scientists. India and France have a longstanding and deep collaboration in the field of space. We have recently reached new agreements between our space agencies, including the development of TRISHNA satellite for monitoring sea and land temperatures and the environment, along with satellite launch services. We can also expand our cooperation in areas such as Space-based Maritime Domain Awareness.

Friends,

India and France have had deep and longstanding people-to-people contacts. Our discussions today will further strengthen these ties. We will be opening a new Indian consulate in the city of Marseille, in southern France. We welcome the decision to provide long-term visas to people of Indian origin studying in France. We invite French universities to establish their campuses in India. France is joining as a partner in the establishment of the new National Museum being built in Delhi. All Indian athletes are eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Olympics in Paris next year. I extend my best wishes to President Macron and his entire team for the successful organization of the event.

Friends,

Today, we will also discuss several important regional and global issues. As resident powers in the Indo-Pacific, India and France have a special responsibility for peace and stability in the region. We are working on an Indo-Pacific cooperation roadmap to give a constructive shape to our collaboration. Both sides are also engaged in discussions on the proposal for the Indo-Pacific Triangular Development Cooperation Fund. This will create new opportunities to promote start-ups and innovation throughout the region. We welcome France's decision to lead the Maritime Resource Pillar in India's Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative.

Friends,

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine have been felt worldwide, with a particularly negative effect on countries in the Global South. This is a matter of concern. It is necessary for all nations to come together and make efforts to find solutions to these problems. We believe that all disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. India is ready to contribute to the restoration of permanent peace. India and France have always stood together in the fight against terrorism. We believe that concrete action is necessary to eliminate cross-border terrorism. Both countries are in agreement on enhancing cooperation in this direction.

President Macron,

I and all Indians look forward to welcoming you to India during the G-20 Summit this year. Once again thank you very much for your friendship and hospitality to me.

 

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