Embattled British Premier David Cameron on Wednesday came close to apologising for hiring former News of the World deputy editor Andy Coulson as his media adviser, saying he would not have done it "in hindsight," as he launched a spirited response to the biggest political crisis of his term.
In his showdown with angry opposition in the House of Commons, Cameron said he had done nothing wrong in the now mothballed Murdoch bid for BSkyB and also had no dealings with another NOTW hacking suspect Neil Wallis.
He, however, defended his former communications chief, saying Coulson should be held innocent until proven guilty, making an emergency statement to parliament on the phone- hacking scandal, a day after media mogul Rupert Murdoch refused to take the blame for the phone hackings that have already led to resignations of two top London cops.
Cameron, nevertheless, said he would offer a "profound apology" if Coulson came out tainted in the scandal.
"People will of course make judgements about it. Of course I regret and I am extremely sorry about the furore it has caused," Cameron said.
"With 20-20 hindsight and all that has followed, I would not have offered him the job and I expect that he wouldn't have taken it. "But you don't make decisions in hindsight, you make them in the present. You live and you learn and believe you me, I have learned," the Prime Minister said.
Cameron also said that the arrested ex-deputy editor of NOTW, Wallis may have advised Coulson before last year's general election but denied that his Conservative party had paid him.
Xi Sets China on a New Long March
In Chinese tradition, dynastic bloodline has never been the criterion to determine the line of succession.
In Chinese tradition, dynastic bloodline has never been the criterion to determine the line of succession. It is the capable ministers and victorious generals who were bestowed the ‘mandate of heaven’ (tianming) to rule China.
Hundreds of rulers earned the legendary title of Huang di – the ‘first Yellow Emperor’ who founded China on the rich floodplains of the Yellow River (Huang He). Few wielded more power than Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, the founding emperors of China’s Communist Dynasty.
Now, Xi Jinping has made history with the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s Parliament – a rubber stamp body –voting to abolish the 10-year presidential term limit, thus enabling him to lead China for several years more.
Mao, as the First Generation leader, ruled China for nearly three decades until his death in 1976. Deng succeeded Mao, albeit after a brief power struggle, and remained at the helm for almost two decades. To avoid a repeat of the aftermath of the ‘Cultural Revolution’, Deng incorporated a provision in the Party constitution in 1982 to limit the tenure of the President. Both Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, as the Third and Fourth Generation Leaders respectively, served two- five years terms each, adopting a collective leadership style.
Xi, the son of Xi Zhongxun – a revolutionary and Mao’s compatriot – joined the Party in 1974 at the age of 21. He burst on the political scene as a graft-fighting Governor of Fujian in 1999. Xi was a consensus candidate to take on the mantle of the Fifth Generation leadership in 2012.
Given the smooth transition of power for the third consecutive time, coupled with his low profile (then he was better known as the husband of popular folk singer Peng Liyuan), speculation was rife that Xi will abide by the constitutional rule that his immediate predecessors had abided by. However, he played his hand differently to emerge as the most powerful leader after Mao and promising to usher China into the ‘New Era’.
Xi bends the curve to forge ‘Generation Rule’:
While commencing his first term in 2013, Xi had stated that “to forge iron, you ought to be strong”. He then set about systematically consolidating his position by strengthening his hold on the twin levers of power: the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
He wasted no time in assuming the triple titles of General Secretary of the CPC, the most powerful appointment; Chairmanship of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the highest military body; and, the Presidency, the least important of the three. Incidentally, Jiang Zemin had held on to the Chairmanship of the CMC for almost two years after handing over the reins to Hu Jintao, thus creating dual power centres.
Xi unleashed an unbridled campaign to clean up the system as corruption had got deeply ingrained in the Party culture. Some of the stalwarts who were either punished or removed for corruption or other violations included Zhou Yongkang, member of the apex Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), and Bo Xilai, member Politburo and Party Secretary of Chongqing.
Besides, more than 40 PLA Generals were netted in the anti-graft operations. These included Generals Guo Boxing and Caihu, Vice Chairmen in the CMC and recently General Fang Fenghui, former Chief of General Staff and member of the CMC. The anti-corruption campaign has also proved handy for Xi to purge potential political rivals.
Concurrently, Xi initiated radical military reforms with a dual aim; to prepare the defence forces for their future role and reinforce the Party’s firm control over PLA. The reforms process started in 2013 during the Third Plenum of the Party Congress with the establishment of the National Security Commission with Xi as its Chairman.
In the reorganized CMC, the role of the President as the ‘Commander in Chief’ enables Xi to exercise direct operational control over the military through the ‘Joint Operational Center’. By ordering a series of reshuffles in the PLA hierarchy, Xi ensured that his loyalists occupied key positions. To reaffirm the role of the military, Xi visited Gutian, a town in Fujian Province, on 30 October 2014 and reiterated what Mao had legislated at the same venue in December 1929; “PLA remains Party’s Army and must maintain absolute loyalty to political masters”.
At the time of the 19th Party Congress held in October 2017, Xi was holding over a dozen titles, and was referred to, in a lighter vein, as ‘Chairman of all’. During the Party Congress, Xi further cemented his authority by enshrining his “Thought for New Era Socialism with Chinese Special Characteristics” in the Constitution. His eponymous political ideology proposes an alternative to liberal democracy and serves as a philosophy around which the CPC can coalesce.
In a clear departure from the well-established tradition followed since the last three decades, no one was chosen as the ‘Sixth Generation’ leader, a successor to be groomed to take over from Xi after he completes his second five-year term in 2023. This set a new precedence, giving rise to speculation that Xi was planning for a third term.
During the 19th Party Congress, Xi unveiled his ‘China Dream’ (fuxing),whichenvisions a powerful and prosperous China entering a ‘New Era”. To this end, he outlined the twin centenary objectives: China to become a fully modern economy and achieve social modernization by 2035, and acquire the status of ‘great modern socialist country’ by the middle of this Century. He propounded the policy ‘striving for achievement’ (fanfa youwei), advocating a greater Chinese leadership role in global affairs to shape the new world order.
This marked an abandonment of Deng’s strategy of maintaining a low profile, never taking a leadership role and biding for time till China completes its peaceful rise.
Post the Party Congress, Xi surreptitiously engineered the process to do away with the two-term Presidential limit, although the appointment is of ceremonial nature to facilitate the discharge of political functions. In January 2018, some 200 senior officials of the Communist Party Central Committee gathered behind closed doors to abolish the Presidential term limit so that Xi could hold on to power indefinitely. The decision was kept under wraps and abruptly announced just before the commencement of the NPC annual session.
As expected, the controversial constitutional amendment to abolish the limit set on the presidential term was passed with an overwhelming majority by the NPC on 11 March 2018 at the Great Hall of People, thus enabling Xi to continue to retain power for life.
China Set for a Long March to Enter ‘New Era’:
When China started to integrate into the ‘global economic order’, the West began to believe that the PRC would bind itself to the rule-based system and evolve into a market economy. It was further assumed that, as Chinese people grew wealthier, they will yearn for democratic freedom thus paving the way for political reforms. Xi was expected to initiate far-reaching economic and political reforms. However, this turned out to be an illusion.
There are a few reasons that explain the CCP’s decision to empower Xi indefinitely.
Firstly, the process of China’s emergence as a global power remains a work in progress and is expected to continue for the next few decades.
Secondly, the Chinese economy is in a state of transition from low technology manufacturing to advanced digitally enabled products.
Thirdly, Xi’s pet project, the ‘Belt-Road Initiative’ which envisages an investment of US $ 1 trillion abroad, and is perceived to be vital for sustaining China’s pace of economic growth and creating a strategic web to expand the Dragon’s influence, requires leadership continuity.
Fourthly, Xi’s on-going anti-corruption drive demands a strong person at the helm.
China’s political system is authoritarian and leaves no space for dissent. Hence, despite Xi’s political coup and underlying fears of oppressive measures, large-scale protests are unlikely. Moreover, the public at large perceives Mao to have made China great, Deng rich, and Xi to be building a strong nation. For the time being, the major concerns of the Chinese people are economic, i.e., jobs, prosperity and quality of life; politics is certainly not a key issue.
According to retired Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces, Xi’s elevation as a lifelong Emperor will lend China a short-term advantage by way of consistency of policies and clear strategic direction vis-a-vis the democracies where leaders and policies change frequently. However, in the long run, dictatorial regimes are prone to political instability, especially during transitions of power; China itself is a case in point.
Another fact could be the rise of China’s middle class over a period of time which would consist of people with varied experiences and independent mindset who could possibly seek greater political freedom.
Global polity is often surprised by the Communist leadership, primarily due to a lack of understanding of Chinese history, culture and a system shrouded in secrecy. All Chinese regimes since the demise of the Qing Monarchy have consolidated national sovereignty and pursued power through all available means.
Most commentators who got Xi wrong claim that not much was known about him before he came to power.
The lateLee Kuan Yew, when expressing his opinion about Xi Jinping, had stated that he has the soul of iron and does not let past suffering weigh upon him. He had compared Xi with the likes of Nelson Mandela.
According to Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, Xi is a man of extraordinary intellect, is self-confident and has a well-defined worldview.
Xi began his second term by exhorting the two million strong PLA to be combat ready by focussing on how to win wars. In his recent speech at the 19th Party Congress, Xi stated that while he would strive to resolve disputes through dialogue he will not compromise on sovereignty.
During his interaction with the delegates of the current NPC, he warned officials to shed ‘pillow talk’ and refrain from indulging in corruption. If the above statements are any indication, the world can expect Xi to be internally oppressive and externally assertive in pursuit of his ‘China Dream’, which could intensify the ensuing ‘great power rivalry’
China under a powerful autocratic leader does not augur well for India. The I962 War and the stand-offs in 1967 and 1987 occurred during the Mao and Deng eras. And the recent face-offs at Depsang, Demchok and Doklam have taken place during Xi’s rule. India will have to be well prepared to counter Chinese intimidation and aggressive behaviour.
This will require decoding Xi’s strategic design and exploit windows of opportunities to enhance cooperation and reduce confrontation. The formulation of a holistic China policy driven by India’s long-term core interests is no more an option, but an imperative.
Xi rides the Dragon which is externally formidable but internally fragile. He is aware of the consequences of his policies going awry. There is scepticism about China’s ability to maintain its pace of economic growth, given the signs of slow down.
Xi has offered the China model based on ‘neo authoritarianism’, where political stability and economic development trump democracy and individual rights, as an alternative to the Western liberal democratic capitalist model. China’s long march to enter the ‘New Era’ will come at a price as it retracts into Mao era centralisation.,
According to the Chinese 11th Century Classic ‘The General Mirror for the Aid of Government’ (Cu Chi Tang Qian), “Anyone who is able to prevent violence and remove harm from the people so that men’s lives are protected, who can reward good and punish evil and thus avoid disaster – such a man be called an emperor.” Xi is known to have deep insights into Chinese history. He has taken a tough call fraught with tremendous risk but with the conviction that he has it in him to be in the league of Mao and Deng, although, as a princeling, he may not belong to the same tribe.
Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of League of India or of any of its partners.
India-Iran MoUs on Health and Medicine Approved by the Cabinet
India and Iran share several common features in their language, culture and traditions, and also share a common legacy of using herbal medicines.
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved two MoUs inked between India and Iran on cooperation in the field of health, medicine and traditional systems of medicine.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the MoU in the field of health and medicine which was signed on February 17 during the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to India, an official statement said.
The main areas of cooperation include exchanging experience and training of doctors, and other health professionals, assistance in the development of human resource, setting up healthcare facilities and regulating pharmaceutical, medical devices and cosmetics, it said.
It also includes cooperation in the field of medical research, new technologies and knowledge-based initiatives, public health and sustainable development goals among others.
A working group will be set up to elaborate the details of cooperation and to oversee the implementation of this MoU.
The other MoU signed in the field of traditional systems of medicine will enhance bilateral cooperation and will be of immense importance to both the countries considering their shared cultural heritage, the statement said.
It said India is blessed with well-developed systems of traditional medicine including medicinal plants, which hold tremendous potential in global health scenario.
India and Iran share several common features in their language, culture and traditions, and also share a common legacy of using herbal medicines, the statement said.
Both countries have huge biodiversity and are home to rare medicinal plants which are frequently used in traditional systems of medicine.
Moreover, Iran has endorsed the status of India as a true leader in the field of traditional systems of medicine backed by strong infrastructure and state of the art production units, the statement said.
The Ministry of AYUSH, having the mandate to promote, propagate and globalise traditional systems of medicine, including Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy, has inked MoUs with China, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Mongolia among others for cooperation in the field traditional medicine.
The India-France Joint Statement
Text of the India-France Joint Statement during State visit of President of France to India (March 10, 2018)
India-France Joint Statement during State visit of President of France to India (March 10, 2018)
March 10, 2018
- At the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the President of the French Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron paid a State Visit to India from 10 to 12 March 2018. The two leaders co-hosted the Founding Summit of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi on 11 March 2018. The leaders held wide-ranging and constructive discussions and underlined the growing convergence between the two countries on regional and international issues.
- On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the strategic partnership between India and France, the first to be established by India, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to furthering it and decided to take it to a new level by agreeing to hold biennial summits between the Prime Minister of India and the President of the French Republic. Both leaders agreed to deepen and strengthen the bilateral ties based on shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights.
- Recalling the valiant sacrifices made by Indian and French soldiers during the First World War, Prime Minister Modi expressed his willingness for India to participate in the closing of the First World War Centenary celebrations, which will take place on 11 November 2018 in Paris. He also welcomed the organization of the Paris Peace Forum on this occasion. President Macron thanked Prime Minister Modi for India’s support to this initiative.I. Strategic Partnership
- The leaders welcomed the signing of the “Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Republic of France regarding the Exchange and Reciprocal Protection of Classified or Protected Information” between India and France, reflecting the high level of strategic trust between the two countries. Both sides also agreed to create an annual defence dialogue at the ministerial level.
- The leaders appreciated the deepening interactions in the maritime domain for enhanced cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region. In that context, they welcomed the “Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region”, as a guiding beacon for such partnership. The leaders reiterated that this cooperation will be crucial in order to maintain the safety of international sea lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications in accordance with the international law, for countering maritime terrorism and piracy, for building maritime domain awareness, for capacity building and for greater coordination in regional/international fora in the region.
- The two leaders welcomed the signing of the “Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Republic of France for the provision of reciprocal logistics support between their Armed Forces”, which seeks to extend logistical support on reciprocal access to respective facilities for Indian and French armed forces. The agreement is symbolic of the strategic depth and maturity reached in India-France defence ties.
- The leaders emphasized the importance of the regular joint military exercises. They welcomed the successful conduct of the Varuna naval exercise held in France in April 2017, and the Shakti army exercise held in France in January 2018. Both sides looked forward to the next Varuna naval in India in the coming weeks and to the next Garuda air force exercise in France in 2019. Both sides affirmed their intention to enhance the level of joint military exercises and maintain the operational quality-level of these exercises in the future.
- The two leaders noted with satisfaction the on-schedule progress in the implementation of acquisition-related agreements, including the Rafale aircraft agreement signed in 2016. They also noted the commissioning of INS Kalvari, the first Scorpene submarine made in India by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd., in collaboration with Naval Group, the French shipbuilder.
- They looked forward to continuing their discussions to expand and deepen the ongoing defence manufacturing partnerships. They acknowledged that the Make-in-India initiative offers a valuable opportunity for Indian and French defence enterprises to enter into arrangements for co-development and co-production of defence equipment in India, including through transfer of know-how and technologies to the mutual benefit of all parties. In this context, the leaders welcomed various joint ventures between Indian and French companies and reaffirmed their commitment to facilitate the establishment of new ones.
- The leaders noted ongoing discussions between DRDO and SAFRAN on combat aircraft engine and encouraged necessary measures and forward-looking approaches to facilitate early conclusion.
- The two leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border terrorism and terror-related incidents in France and India. Both leaders also affirmed that terrorism cannot be justified on any grounds whatsoever it may be and it should not be associated with any religion, creed, nationality and ethnicity. Recalling the joint statement on terrorism adopted by the two countries in January 2016, the two leaders reaffirmed their strong determination to eliminate terrorism everywhere it is to be found. They agreed that more must be done by the international community to stem terrorism financing and welcomed the organization of an International Conference on Fighting Terrorism Financing in Paris in April 2018 by the French government.
- They also called upon all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing channels, and halting cross-border movement of terrorists like Al Qaeda, Daesh/ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammed, HizbulMujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayabba, and their affiliates as well as terrorist groups threatening peace and security in South Asia and the Sahel region.
- The two leaders in addition to pursuing the excellent cooperation between the intervention forces (NSG-GIGN) and the investigation agencies of the two countries, agreed to enhance operational cooperation between the Indian and French counter-terrorism agencies and launch a new cooperation effort to prevent and fight radicalization, in particular online. The two leaders agreed to strengthen counter-terrorism in Multilateral Fora such as UN, GCTF, FATF and G20 etc. They called upon all UN member countries to implement the UNSC Resolution 1267 and other relevant resolutions designating terrorist entities. The leaders also agreed to work together on early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN.
- They welcomed the conclusion of an Agreement on Prevention of the Illicit Consumption of and Reduction of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Chemical Precursors between the two countries aimed at effective institutional interaction and curbing transnational narcotics trafficking including disruption of terrorist financing.
- In pursuance of the 2008 Agreement on the Development of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy between India and France as well as the January 2016 roadmap of cooperation, the two leaders noted with satisfaction the conclusion of the Industrial Way Forward Agreement between NPCIL and EDF for the Implementation of six nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur, Maharashtra, India.
- The two leaders reiterated the goal of commencing works at the Jaitapur site around the end of 2018 and encouraged NPCIL and EDF to accelerate the contractual discussions in that respect. Once installed, the Jaitapur project will be the largest nuclear power plant in the world, with a total capacity of 9.6 GW. It will contribute, in addition to renewable energy, to achieving India’s goal of 40% non-fossil energy by 2030. In this context, they emphasized the need for the project to generate cost-effective electricity; economical and competitive financing package from the French side; reliable, uninterrupted and continued access to guaranteed fuel supply for the lifetime of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plants; and collaboration on transfer of technology and cost-effective localization efforts of manufacturing in India. The latter includes the transfer of rights on technology to be mutually agreed.
- They welcomed the understanding shared by the two parties on the enforcement of India’s rules and regulations on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages applicable to the Jaitapur project. The understanding is based on the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010, the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Rules 2011, and compliance of India’s rules and regulations with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, ratified and notified to the IAEA.
- The leaders welcomed the regular engagement between their atomic energy organizations and their growing collaboration in mutually beneficial scientific and training activities related to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and particularly the cooperation between CEA/INSTN and DAE/GCNEP. They also appreciated the long-standing relations and continuing interactions between their nuclear regulatory authorities – India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and France’s Autorité de sûretéNucléaire (ASN) – which have facilitated sharing of valuable experiences, best practices and developments related to nuclear safety and regulatory issues.Space Cooperation
- Building on the historical and formidable linkages in the arena of civilian space, the leaders welcomed the “India-France Joint Vision for Space Cooperation” which spells out the concrete areas of future cooperation in this field. They acknowledged, in particular, the ongoing cooperation between their space agencies to realize the third joint satellite mission – TRISHNA, meant for eco-system stress and water use monitoring and also accommodation of French instrument on India’s OCEANSAT-3 satellite.II. Economic, Educational, Science & Technology, Cultural & People to People Cooperation
- Prime Minister Modi and President Macron noted with satisfaction the depth of the ties between the two countries, particularly in the economic, educational, scientific, cultural and tourism sectors.
- They welcomed the signing of a bilateral partnership agreement on migration and mobility, which will facilitate student and professional mobility between France and India by simplifying the conditions for entry and long-term stay in the two countries.
- Prime Minister Modi and President Macron appreciated the role of continuing people-to-people exchanges between the two countries and underscored the necessity of greater youth exchange programmes for promotion of understanding of each other’s cultures. They welcomed in this regard the launch of the “France-India Programme for the Future”, a French initiative aimed at fostering youth exchanges, which are vital for the future growth of India-France ties.Economic Exchanges
- The leaders noted with satisfaction the involvement of French companies in several new and ongoing manufacturing partnership projects in India. They were pleased with the robust expansion of research and development conducted by these companies in India. They equally highlighted the attractiveness of France for Indian investors.
- Both sides noted with satisfaction the growth in bilateral trade during the recent period and expressed their desire that this momentum is sustained with the aim of raising trade in goods to 15 billion euros by 2022. They encouraged SMEs and mid-cap companies to play a growing role in the economic and commercial exchanges between the two countries. Reaffirming their commitment to facilitate a conducive environment for enhancing bilateral trade and investment, the leaders:a. Underlined the importance of regular and sustained economic cooperation dialogue through the India-France Joint Committee,
b. Welcomed the new recommendations presented by the Co-Chairs of the CEO Forum in Delhi in March 2018.
- The two leaders stressed the importance of holding annually a Dialogue at the ministerial level to deepen cooperation in the economic and financial sectors.Educational and S&T Cooperation
- The leaders recognized with satisfaction a vibrant educational cooperation within the Governmental framework and amongst Universities and academic institutes and encouraged them to increase the number and quality of student exchanges, with the aim of reaching 10,000 students by 2020. They welcomed in this regard the signing of an agreement for the mutual recognition of degrees, which will facilitate the pursuit of higher education by Indian students in France and French students in India and enhance their employability. They welcomed the holding of the Knowledge Summit, the first Indo-French conference on research and higher education, in New Delhi on 10th and 11th March 2018.
- Recognizing that skill development is a key priority for the two countries, both leaders welcomed the important role played by French companies in India in training and skilling of the Indian workforce and encouraged them to engage even more actively in the sector. Both sides looked forward to furthering tie-ups and formal arrangements between skill development institutions and agencies of the two countries.
- The leaders recognized with satisfaction, the role played by the Indo-French Centre for Promotion of Advance Research (CEFIPRA) and congratulated it on its 30th anniversary, which was celebrated in 2017. They encouraged CEFIPRA to expand its role through interactive continuum between research, market and societal needs by linking the discoveries from fundamental research and their technological applications. In order to expand the scope and content of the bilateral cooperation in science, technology and innovation, the leaders emphasized the need to convene the Joint Committee on S&T in 2018.Cultural Exchanges
- The two leaders lauded the success of ‘Namasté France’ festival organized in 2016, which featured 83 events in 41 cities of France, in highlighting Indian cultural heritage in France and the success of the third edition of ‘Bonjour India’, which featured 300 projects in 33 cities of India. The leaders greeted the year-long ‘India@70’ celebrations being organized by India in France.
- Noting the importance of literature in the promotion of friendly relations between the two countries, the leaders welcomed the participation of India as a Guest of Honour in the 42nd edition of ‘Salon du Livre de Paris’ (French Book Fair) in the year 2020. Reciprocally, France will participate as a Guest of Honour in New Delhi World Book Fair in 2022.
- Prime Minister Modi and President Macron noted with satisfaction the strong upsurge in tourist exchanges between the two countries (+69% growth of Indian tourists to France since 2014). The two countries set the target of one million Indian tourists in France and 335,000 French tourists in India by 2020.III. Partnership for the planet
- The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to lead the fight against climate change, based on the principles of climate justice, fostering climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development. They committed to fully implement the Paris Agreement at the COP24 and further on, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a part of an irreversible global process at combating climate change for the benefit of all humanity. They stressed the positive contribution of the One Plant Summit in Paris on 12 December 2017 to this objective.
- The French President thanked the Indian Prime Minister for India’s support to the initiative to work on a Global Pact for the Environment.International Solar Alliance
- The two leaders welcomed the entry into force of the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and looked forward to co-hosting the ISA Founding Conference on 11th March 2018 in New Delhi. The leaders underlined their commitment to furthering and deepening concrete projects and programmes under the aegis of ISA to mobilize affordable financing for massive solar energy deployment.Renewable energy
- The two leaders reaffirmed that the strengthening of the India-French technological cooperation on renewable energy was a common priority for encouraging the emergence and dissemination of innovation in all the sectors. They stressed the importance of mobilizing public and private funds to support the development of solar energy. In this regard, they welcomed the establishment, within the International Solar Alliance, of an international committee of chambers of industry, and the willingness of MEDEF, SER, FICCI and CII among others to join it.Sustainable mobility
- The leaders noted that efficient modes of transportation with low GHG emissions are an essential condition for the sustainable development and economic growth of India and France. They recalled the strong ambitions of the two countries with regard to the development of electric mobility. In this regard, they welcomed the signing of a Statement of Intent between the French Ministry for Ecological and Inclusive Transition and NITI Aayog, which will be supported by French technical assistance provided by French Development Agency (AFD).
- The leaders reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to strengthening their railway cooperation and noted with satisfaction the completion of a feasibility study for semi-high speed upgrade of the Delhi-Chandigarh section and station development study of Ambala and Ludhiana stations. Both sides agreed that future technical discussions on upgradation of the speed of the Delhi-Chandigarh sector will necessarily take into account the passenger and freight traffic load on the section and the complexities it entails. The leaders also welcomed the establishment of a permanent Indo-French Railway Forum, bringing together the French Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition, and SNCF (French Railways) on the one hand, and the Indian Ministry of Railways on the other, to pave the way for industrial cooperation between the two countries.Smart Cities
- Prime Minister Modi and President Macron noted with satisfaction the excellent Indo-French cooperation on sustainable cities and Smart Cities, marked by numerous cases of innovation sharing and fruitful collaborations between French and Indian stakeholders, They welcomed the exemplary cooperation programme in the three Smart Cities of Chandigarh, Nagpur, and Puducherry, and the extension of AFD’s technical assistance programme under the framework of this Mission. They welcomed the signing of the loan agreement between the AFD and the Government of India for 100 million euros in support of the Smart Cities Mission.IV. Expanding Global Strategic Convergences
- As Strategic Partners, the two countries share converging views on key regional and global issues and continue to consult and coordinate closely with each other on matters of common interest.
- France reaffirmed its support for India’s candidature for a permanent membership of the UN Security Council. France and India share common concerns and objectives in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- France welcomes India’s accession to the MTCR in June 2016, to the Wassenaar Arrangement in December 2017 and to the Australia Group in January 2018. Prime Minister Modi thanked President Macron for France’s leadership that led to India’s membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement. He also thanked France for supporting India’s membership of the Australia Group. In order to further strengthen global non-proliferation France reaffirmed its strong and active support to building consensus among regimes’ members on the issue of India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, recognizing that India’s accession will add value to the aims and objectives of these regimes.
- The leaders agreed that DPRK’s continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its proliferation links poses a grave threat to international peace and security, and called for the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which has been endorsed by DPRK. Both sides stressed the need to hold accountable those who support or have supported DPRK’s nuclear and missile programmes. They also stressed the importance of unity of the international community in addressing this challenge, ensuring that all UNSC sanctions are fully implemented by the entire international community, so as to maximize pressure towards achieving a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.
- India and France reaffirmed their support for the continued full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between Iran and the E3+3. They recognised the confirmation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran is complying with its nuclear-related JCPOA commitments. The two countries called for the full and effective implementation of the deal, which has been endorsed by the UN Security Council and is a crucial contribution to the non-proliferation framework and international peace, stability and security. They called on all parties to implement fully UN Security Council resolution 2231.
- Both leaders reaffirmed the primacy of the UN-led Geneva process for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through the all-inclusive Syrian-led political process taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria. Protection of civilians and access to humanitarian aid are fundamental and all parties to the conflict and their supporters are expected to live up to their commitments. Both leaders affirmed that they can be no military solution to the conflict and that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria should be protected. They also emphasized the importance of the OPCW and stressed that under no circumstances should there be any use of chemical weapons.
- The leaders reaffirmed their support for the strategic partnership between the European Union and India, based on shared principles and values, as well as a commitment to a rules-based international order. They agreed that India and the EU should deepen their cooperation on multilateral and security issues, as well as on economic, trade and climate change issues and welcomed the outcome of the 14th EU-India summit held in New Delhi on 6 October 2017. They expressed support to the efforts of both sides to re-engage actively towards timely relaunching of negotiations for a comprehensive and mutually beneficial EU-India Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
- India and France acknowledged the importance of connectivity in today’s globalised world. They underlined that connectivity initiatives must be based on key principles of international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency; follow social and environmental standards, principles of financial responsibility, accountable debt-financing practices; and must be pursued in a manner that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- India and France are committed to implement the G20 decisions and to work together with other G20 members to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
- The leaders reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and the importance of enhancing free, fair, and open trade for achieving sustainable growth and development. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together with all members of the WTO, which would reaffirm the centrality of the rules-based multilateral trading system and its importance for open and inclusive global trade.
- India and France are willing to work together to improve the global economic and financial governance architecture, reduce excessive global imbalances, promote inclusive and interconnected development and tackle common global challenges, including terrorism, poverty, hunger, job creation, climate change, energy security, and inequality including gender inequality, as a basis for sustainable development.
- Indian and France share a common interest to cooperate and collaborate for the stability and prosperity of Africa, including through development-oriented initiatives such as capacity building programs and joint projects. Building on their first dialogue on Africa in June 2017 in Paris, both leaders reiterated their willingness to implement common projects on the ground. The leaders also welcomed the establishment of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, which demonstrates the willingness of African nations to take charge of their own security to address the threat of terrorism, as well as the serious challenges posed by transnational organized crime in the region.
- The leaders reiterated their support for the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the values it promotes. They shared their commitment to proactively contribute towards the priorities of IORA.
- With the aim of broadening the canvas of such like-minded convergences, it was agreed to initiate regular expert level official dialogues on East Asia, as well as on the Middle East. An annual Policy and Planning Dialogue was also instituted between the two Foreign Ministries.
- President Macron thanked Prime Minister Modi and the Government of India for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation and looked forward to welcoming him to France.
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