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India-France relations
India   France
Map indicating location of India and France
     India      France

Bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the French Republic were established in 1947 and both nations have since established close co-operation in defence and commerce.



Dupleix meeting the Soudhabar of the Deccan, Murzapha Jung.

In the 17th century François Bernier (1625–1688), a French physician and traveler, became for 12 years the personal physician of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

In the early 18th century, France was actively involved in the powerplay in India. The French General Dupleix was allied to Murzapha Jung in the Deccan, and Chanda Sahib in the Carnatic, in the conflict against Robert Clive.

The French succeeded in the 1746 Battle of Madras, and the French and Indians fought together and vanquished Anwaruddin in 1749, but failed in the Battle of Arcot in 1751 and finally surrendered in 1752.[1] The French again had a success at the capture of Fort St. David in 1758 under Lally, but were finally defeated at Masulipatam (1759) and Wandewash (1760).[2]

France was one of the major European nations apart from Great Britain to establish colonies in India, establishing the Madras Presidency (covering the modern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu). France ceded much of the Madras Presidency to the British but retained control of Pondicherry and Calicut.

France established diplomatic relations with the newly-independent India in 1947. Both nations negotiated the peaceful transfer of Pondicherry and Calicut to India, which was completed by 1954.

In 1998, the then-French President Jacques Chirac made a high-profile visit to India, expressing his desire to build an "ambitious relationship," Chirac saluted India as "a nation which has affirmed its personality on the world stage."[3] In January 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited India and was the chief guest at India's Republic Day parade.[4] Sarkozy expressed a desire to be able to visit India each year.[3] In September 2008, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a major visit to France that led to the establishment of Indo-French trade in nuclear technology.[3][5]

Development of bilateral relations

Both nations have aimed to increase bilateral trade from 6.5 billion euros to 12 billion euros by 2012; in 2007, trade expanded by 26%.[3] France and India established a Consortrium of Indo-French Universities to increase educational cooperation - approximately 1,300 Indian students study in France.[3] India and France have also signed agreements on social security for Indians living in France and joint cooperation on space research and technology.[6]

Strategic cooperation

France and India have extensive strategic co-operation, with the military services of both nations conducting joint exercises. India has purchased much military equipment from France, especially the French Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft and the Scorpène class submarines.[7] France was one of the few nations who did not condemn India's nuclear tests in 1998 and has supported India's bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council as well as G-8.[4][3] France is one of the largest suppliers of nuclear fuel to India, and signed a "Framework Agreement for Civil Nuclear Co-operation" in January 2008 during French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to India.[5]< During the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to France after India's waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), both nations signed an agreement that would pave the way for the sale of French-made nuclear reactors to India on September 30, 2008.[5][6] France and India also maintain a discreet "strategic dialogue" that covers joint cooperation against terrorism. However, India has objected to France's military assistance to Pakistan, with whom it is in conflict. In July 2009 the French government invited the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh to be their chief guest at the French national day (Bastile day) celeberations. Both countries pledged for closer economic, strategic & cultural cooperation on this occasion.




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