India welcomed France’s decision to take up the ‘Maritime Resources’ pillar of India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)

India and France on Tuesday agreed to explore ways to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, including through the India-France-Australia Trilateral mechanism.

They also decided to address emerging challenges in the maritime and space domains and work together in the area of climate action and biodiversity protection.

The issues figured in bilateral talks between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

According to a press statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Jaishankar and Le Drian also held discussions on a number of regional and global issues of mutual interest reiterating their shared commitment to a multipolar world and faith in multilateralism.

When it comes to ways to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, India welcomed France’s decision to take up the "Maritime Resources” pillar of India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), the statement added.

In the context of the changes in a Covid-impacted world, both Ministers recognised the immense opportunities for greater collaboration in diverse sectors such as trade and investments, defence and security, health, education, research and innovation, energy and climate change, the MEA statement noted.

Noting that bilateral trade with France has witnessed a steady rise in the last decade reaching USD 10.75 billion in 2020, the two sides called for the need to tap the full potential of bilateral trade and economic relations, it further explained.

Ministers of the two countries also recognised the importance of fast tracking the discussions on an India-EU trade and investment agreement, the statement mentioned.

The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs is on an official visit to India from April 13-15.

He will be participating along with the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India, Prakash Javadekar at a panel discussion on Climate Change in Delhi.

The French Foreign Minister will also participate in the Raisina Dialogue.

In the second leg of his tour, he will be visiting the National Centre for Biological Sciences and Indian Space Research Organisation in Bengaluru on April 15.