India-France partnership in trade, investment will matter as much as their cooperation in defence and security, the EAM said

Stating that relations between India and France are defined by traits like values, trust and transparency, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said belief in strategic autonomy and a multipolar world underpinned by reformed and effective multilateralism bind the two countries together.

He cited these factors as a bulwark of India-France strategic partnership.

“For this reason, our strategic partnership has become even more relevant in the 21st century – both to strengthen multilateralism, which must be the basis of a stable multipolar world, and even more for the future of the Indo Pacific region,” EAM Jaishankar said while speaking at Ambition India 2021, an event organized by Business France.

He said India sees France as a resident power in the Indo Pacific region, indispensable to its peace and stability, and a premier partner for India in the region.

“Our partnership must help safeguard our interests, protect the commons and uphold international law and multilateralism. But, it must also offer better alternatives to countries in the region and enable them to make sovereign and viable choices,” the EAM added.

He maintained that India-France partnership in trade, investment, connectivity, health and sustainability will matter as much as their cooperation in defence and security.

The EAM also said that closer economic partnership between India and France calls for addressing concentration risk in manufactured goods, making supply chain resilient and adjusting to the emerging geopolitical competition of trade and technology.

He said India is an exciting, rapidly growing, stable, rule-based, market-driven and democratic frontier of economic opportunities, located at the very heart of the dynamic Indo Pacific region.

Highlighting the country’s economic prospect, he said India is expected to grow at 9.5 percent and will remain the fastest growing economy at least till 2025.

“Growth is broad-based, touching all sectors. Last year, our FDI grew 13 percent, when global flows declined 42 percent, and Foreign Portfolio Investment has kept pace with a surge in domestic investments. Our pandemic response made sure we don’t lose fiscal stability over the long run or fuel unsustainable inflation during the recovery,” the EAM said.

He added India has brought broad-based reforms in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, labour laws, small scale industry, defence industry, financial sector, foreign investment, corporate tax rates and tax administration even over the past year.

“Digitally driven governance has brought in single window approvals, ease of compliance and transparency in regulation. Logistics and infrastructure are expanding at an unprecedented rate,” he added.

Jaishankar said by undertaking privatization of public sector units, offering a National Infrastructure Pipeline of USD 1.4 trillion and a National Monetisation Pipeline for brown field assets worth USD 80 billion, the government is looking to make the economy more efficient and improve return on its assets.