Following is the text of the joint statement issued by French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after their wide ranging talks in Paris on Monday:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Jacques Chirac today reaffirm the strategic partnership between India and France and commit themselves to further strengthening and deepening the relationship.
The visit of the prime minister, at the invitation of the President of the republic, illustrates the importance attached by the two countries to the strategic partnership, initiated in January 1998.
The reasons which called for close relations between the two countries at that time are even stronger today, in the context of a reconfiguration of the global balance of power, the emergence of India as a great power being one of its most significant features.
On the eve of the United Nations high level summit, the two leaders signalled their intention to:
- Take the already vibrant bilateral relationship between India and France to a new and higher level; strengthen co-operation in dealing with global challenges and work together on issues such as the fight against terrorism, prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, promoting development which is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, the effective management of globalisation, and the fight against pandemics.
- Reaffirm support for the reform of the UN system and an organisation which is stronger, more representative, and more capable of responding in the best possible manner to today's challenges in the areas of international peace, security and development.
The prime minister of India thanked France for its constant and firm support for India's candidature for permanent membership of the Security Council. He expressed interest in France's proposals in the area of development financing and for the reform of international governance of the environment.
Keeping global energy requirements in mind and the necessity to combat global warning, India and France recognise the need to strengthen energy security and promote the development of stable, sustainable, efficient and affordable energy sources in the order to meet their growing energy requirements.
Both sides also recognise that nuclear energy provides a safe, environmental friendly and sustainable source of energy and the need to further develop international cooperation in promoting the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
France acknowledges the need for full international civilian nuclear cooperation with India and will work towards this objective by working with other countries and the NSG and by deepening bilateral cooperation.
France appreciated India's strong commitment to preventing proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the ongoing steps it is taking in this regard.
In this context, both countries will also work towards conclusion of a bilateral nuclear cooperation management.
In the field of military cooperation, the joint exercises carried out by armed forces testify to the high degree of confidence built over the years between India and France. In order to further strengthen the defence relationship, the two countries will hold discussions with a view to finalizing a framework agreement on defence cooperation at an early date.
Our strategic partnership in the field of defence industries has been newly illustrated by the confirmation given by the Government of India of its decision to purchase Scorpene submarines.
India and France also reaffirm their willingness to further pursue their cooperation in the space sector. They expressed satisfaction at the recent conclusion of a Framework agreement between the European Union and India on India's participation in the Galileo project, finalized during the India-EU Summit at New Delhi on September 7.
India and France are pleased with the robust growth in their economic relations. As India emerges as a global economic power, both countries are determined to realise the potential that exists for further development of economic and trade tries and express their intention to double bilateral trade within five years.
They will also work towards forging business partnerships in the following priority sectors:
- Advanced and new technologies
- Food processing
In this regard, the government of India has confirmed the purchase of 43 Airbus aircraft by Indian Airlines.
India and France underline the vitality of Indo-French scientific, technical and educational cooperation. In order to further strengthen this relationship the President of the republic conveyed France's willingness to welcome more Indian students in French universities and 'Grandes Ecoles', and towards this end, to put into place an ambitious policy of scholarlships and exchange programmes.
In the cultural field, a major exhibition of art from the Gupta period will be held in the Grand Palais in 2007.
It will be an occasion to share this unique Indian cultural heritage with a large French audience.
The governments of India and France accord high priority to the exchange of high level visits for the further intensification of the bilateral relationship. In this context, the French President warmly accepts the Prime Minister's invitation to visit India on 20- 21 February 2006.