External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday held bilateral talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian

India and France on Sunday adopted a Roadmap on the Blue Economy and Ocean Governance that seeks to enhance partnership in the field of blue economy by way of institutional, economic, infrastructural and scientific cooperation.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is on a visit to France, held bilateral talks with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign said a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Both Ministers appreciated the close cooperation between India and France during the Covid-19 pandemic and agreed to further deepen the Strategic Partnership, particularly in the areas of trade and investments, defence and security, health, education, research and innovation, energy and climate change, it stated.

As part of this endeavour, both sides adopted the ‘India-France Roadmap on the Blue Economy and Ocean Governance’, which aims to enhance partnership in the field of blue economy by way of institutional, economic, infrastructural and scientific cooperation, the statement added.

With the goal of further facilitating people-to-people contact, the two Ministers also agreed to continue and enhance their cooperation in the field of sports and agreed to soon conclude a Joint Declaration of Intent in the Area of Sports, it mentioned.

Additionally, they agreed to strengthen the long standing cooperation on public administration and administrative reforms between the relevant authorities in India and France, the statement said.

Jaishankar and Le Drian also discussed key regional and global issues, particularly the India-EU relationship and the priorities of the French Presidency of the EU Council that began on January 1 this year, it added.

In this context, the EAM appreciated the French initiative of hosting an EU Ministerial Forum on Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific on February 22 where he will participate along with several other Ministers from Indo-Pacific and EU countries, the MEA said.

They also agreed to intensify India-EU ties under the French Presidency, and the need to begin negotiations on the India-EU Free Trade and Investment Agreements and implement the India-EU Connectivity Partnership, it further stated.

In the context of the EU Ministerial Forum, the two Ministers agreed to jointly launch the Indo-French call for an ‘Indo-Pacific Parks Partnership’ during the EU Forum on February 22, the MEA statement informed.

This Partnership aims to build capacities in the Indo-Pacific region, in terms of sustainable management of protected areas, by gathering and sharing the experiences and expertise that exist in the Region among key Indo-Pacific public & private natural park managers, it maintained.

According to the statement, the two Ministers also exchanged perspectives on the situation in Afghanistan, JCPOA and the evolving situation in Ukraine.
They reiterated their shared commitment to the principles of multilateralism and a rules-based order, and agreed to coordinate in the UN Security Council on issues of mutual concern, it further added.

During his visit to France, EAM Jaishankar will also hold meetings with other French dignitaries, EU Commissioners, as well as with his counterparts from other Indo-Pacific countries participating in the EU Indo-Pacific Forum, the MEA stated.