For the first time in the history of India’s Republic Day, a foreign military contingent took part in the annual parade in New Delhi on India’s 67th Republic Day. A 123-member French army contingent marched down Rajpath, Delhi’s own Champs Elysees, and presented a ceremonial salute to President Pranab Mukherjee.
France’s president, Francois Hollande, the guest of honour for the Republic Day parade this year, applauded as his country’s contingent marched past on a cold and foggy morning.
India and France have always been steadfast partners
India and France enjoy an exceptionally warm relationship, which is the fruit of deep affinities and the unwavering trust between the two countries since the independence of India. An intense cooperation was established in areas as sensitive as defence, security and energy under the strategic partnership initiated in 1998.
France has been at India’s side at all times. France has extended her unstinting support to India’s demands on several strategic issues, even in times of difficulties: a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, participation in the decision-making process of international bodies (e.g. the expanded G8, then the G20), access to civil nuclear cooperation.
The relations between France and India stem from deep-rooted cultural attraction, the legacy of history, and a sheer interest in each other’s cultures that dates back to centuries. Our countries thus share the same references and values, enshrined in our respective constitutions.
Fifty years after the establishment of relations between India and the European Union, France is pleased to celebrate the continuous development of EU-India cooperation over the years.
India and France have a shared commitment to develop technology and knowledge
For centuries, India and France have revered learning. In Europe and India the same tribute is paid to the work of French scientists and engineers. Our sovereignty, our independence, and our ability to rise to global challenges all depend on science, technology and innovation.
With this firm belief, France has invested in all high technology sectors and promotes a similar European approach. Space, defence, transport, energy, urban services are some of the areas in which France has promising cooperation, especially with India, as part of the strategic partnership between our two countries.
Higher Education is shaping the success of Indians & French globally
The excellence of French higher education is recognized throughout the world: French institutions, such as Ecole Normale Supérieure, Ecole Polytechnique, Sciences Po, HEC or INSEAD figure prominently in the Shanghai Classification of Universities, the Financial Times and Times Higher Education rankings, and the European Report on Science and Technologies published by the European Commission.
Developing university, scientific and technological cooperation with India is also a priority for France. Around 3,000 Indian students are enrolled in French universities, a figure that is on an upward trajectory as it has more than doubled over the past five years. In concrete terms, this cooperation comprises scholarship programmes and numerous partnerships between Indian and French institutions. Management, Business, Engineering, Life Sciences, Mathematics and Physical Sciences are the main fields of interest for Indian students.
Scientific and technological cooperation is another key area. Such cooperation is rooted in institutes of high standards promoting collaborative projects between French and Indian researchers and scientists, such as CEFIPRA (Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research), which celebrated its twenty-fifth year recently.
IDENTITÉ DE LA FRANCE
France combines a strong identity with the great diversity of its cities and its countryside, which is the legacy of history. Beyond greater Paris, with its 12 million inhabitants and its vivid cultural, intellectual and economic life, a rich cultural diversity thrives in the French regions and cities: Lyon and Marseille as well as the splendid cities of Bordeaux, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Nice.
For the past five years, France has steadily ranked among the world’s top countries for its quality of life. It is the leading global destination for tourists, who come to discover this country situated at European crossroads.
Finally Indian and France witnessed Republic Day bonhomie, Climate change in India-France ties were stronger as Prime Minister Modi and President Hollande talk tough on terror and reassured to strengthen bilateral relations to enhance cooperation and peace.