From supporting India’s stance on the Kashmir issue at the United Nations Security Council, building its defence ecosystem to batting for the country at critical multilateral forums, Paris has never shied away from promoting New Delhi’s interests on the global platform.
Just a week ago, India was able to thwart China’s attempts at discussing the Kashmir issue at the UNSC due to the firm support provided by France along with other members of the council.
Ever since New Delhi scrapped Article 370 that took away the special status of Jammu and Kashmir while converting that state into a Union Territory, France has consistently maintained that it is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan and that there was no need to mediate between the two.
This even as other countries, mainly the US, have highlighted concerns on human rights and even offered to mediate. The bonding between New Delhi and Paris has cut across political parties irrespective of who ruled both these countries.
While the defence cooperation between both nations is well-known, a lesser-known fact is that it was because the French took the lead that India was able to join three of the four critical nuclear non-proliferation regimes — the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement and now the Australia Group.
“France has always been that partner for India, which has been beside New Delhi when everyone else was apprehensive,” said Mohan Kumar, former Indian Ambassador to France, and the current chairman of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).
France has also been batting consistently for a permanent seat for India at the UNSC.
“We have done it before and we will continue to fight for India for its adequate representation at the UNSC,” said Rémy Tirouttouvarayane, spokesperson, Embassy of France in India.
From Toofani in 1950s to Rafale in 2020
Defence cooperation is the one area that literally defines the bilateral relationship between New Delhi and Paris.