To counter China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean, India and France on Saturday signed 14 agreements including a key security accord in the region.
“Both our countries believe for the world peace, prosperity, and progress in the future. The Indian Ocean region is going to play a very important role,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi as French president Emmanuel Macron stood by his side.
"Stability in the Indian Ocean region is very important for the stability of the entire region, and we are with India for freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific," Macron said in his joint address with PM Modi.
Both countries decided to step up cooperation in the space sector by exploring ways to use satellites for maritime surveillance and collaborating on inter-planetary missions
India's Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and French National Space Agency (CNES) would work together on the design and development of joint products and techniques to monitor and protect their assets in land and sea.
ISRO and CNES also inked an agreement for an end-to-end solution for detection, identification, and monitoring of vessels in the regions of interest.
In an apparent reference to China, Macron stressed that "a strong part of our security and the world's stability" is at stake in the Indian Ocean that, like the Pacific Ocean, "cannot become a place of hegemony".
After Brexit, Emmanuel Macron wants France to be India’s best partner in Europe.
Apart from security, the two leaders also pledged to start work at Jaitapur site by the end of the year to build world's largest nuclear power plant, with a total capacity of 9.6 Gigawatts.