India, France express commitment to freedom of navigation in Indo-Pacific












France on Thursday backed India getting a permanent seat in the UN Security Council as the two countries expressed their resolve towards freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific and said they were committed towards multilateralism.

In a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron, the two countries supported an inclusive peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan controlled, leading to a lasting political solution.

On Iran, they agreed that full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian Nuclear Programme and the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 was needed to ensure regional and international peace and security and that current issues need to be resolved peacefully through dialogue, including through efforts towards de-escalation of ongoing tensions.

“Based on a shared commitment to maintaining the freedom of navigation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific zone, maritime security cooperation between France and India is a domain of excellence in their strategic partnership,” the statement said.

The two countries welcomed the swift implementation of the conclusions of the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, adopted during the visit to India of President Macron in March 2018.

For implementation of the White Shipping agreement, India and France welcome the appointment of a French liaison officer at the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurugram.

The statement said that France and India intend to coordinate their action at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and undertake, along with interested states, a joint project for reinforcing assets for combating piracy and all kinds of maritime trafficking in the Southern Indian Ocean.

“France also intends to work concertedly with India at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), over which it will preside from 2020 to 2022,” it said.

“France and India are democratic societies committed to upholding multilateralism. They believe more than ever before in a reformed, more efficient international system adapted to meet the challenges of the 21stcentury,” it added.

The statement said that France wished to associate India to the G7 Summit it is hosting so as to better respond to the challenges of digital transformation, the climate emergency and the erosion of biodiversity.

“France and India call for reform of the United Nations Security Council that would enable India to gain a permanent seat on it.”

The two countries also reaffirmed their commitment to working expeditiously and constructively, together and with others, towards the modernisation of the World Trade Organization, including in the lead-up to the 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2020.

They agreed that updating the rules and improving the functions of the Organisation, with a particular focus on the dispute settlement system, is necessary to bolster the open, fair, transparent and rules-based multilateral trading system which has long been a significant engine of growth and development. They supported the implementation of the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment.

France and India also reaffirmed their determination to deepen the relations between the EU and India on strategic and multilateral issues as well as in trade, investment and innovation.

“France and India cooperate actively for international peace and security, including in the regional crises threatening them. They support an inclusive peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan controlled, leading to a lasting political solution based on the preservation of the gains, including the constitutional order, human rights, particularly women’s rights and the liberties gained over the past eighteen years,” the statement said.

It said the two countries call for the timely holding of presidential elections, cessation of terrorist violence and end to terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries for enduring and sustainable peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.

The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen their partnership to arrive at “an even more robust, close and complementary relationship” including synergising of their approaches towards issues of regional and global importance.

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