In recent times we saw India has inclined itself more towards western states. We have improved our ties with most of the western nations US, UK, France, Israel etc. There is a very popular quote which has been used by many leaders – “ There is no permanent friends and enemies only permanent interest”. It is still very applicable. In past we were colony of UK, other western countries also entered India with the motive of having control over it but as of now we have forgotten everything and bilateral ties are good with them. If we take recent examples US during its mission in Afghanistan needed Pakistan’s help and hence was inclined towards them. Russia being player from the other side decided to improve ties with India and for us that was our need to counter Pakistan while it was supported by US. We were stuck in the death triangle of Pakistan, China, US. There was also anger of Pokhran Test but after few years we both felt the need of India-US Nuclear deal. This shows how the scenario changes. Our reliance on Russia isn’t hidden from the world but in recent times we saw some of the dissenting views between us. Be it naming of Indo Pacific, Quad grouping, our relations with EU countries , US etc. So these all things led us to think of other formal support in United Nations Security Council. Today we will try to discuss can France fill the space of Russia (not discussing US for this role as we are unknown of policies of Joe Biden) that has saved us on various issues in UNSC.
Indo French historical ties
France is among the major developed countries , nuclear armed state and permanent member of UNSC ( United Nations Security Council ). Historically we had great ties with each other.
When British East India company ( EIC )came to India with the motive of dominating trade between India and other European countries, they saw a great potential of colonising it as per their evaluation India was deeply fragmented with almost negligible central control. But British were not the only to see this opportunity. France was among the competitors of Britain to gain control over India. There were various points when France stood with Indian Rulers in the fight against British power but with the same motive that EIC were pursuing. France had best relations with kingdom of Mysore during the reign of Tipu Sultan . Tipu was impressed with the French Revolution and became member of Jacobin Club. French authority helped Tipu to build modern type of army and have power in sea. This strong alliance resisted British in gaining direct control over Deccan region but this resistance was ended after the death of Tipu in Srirangapatam. After that France was cornered nearby coastal areas. But it wasn’t the end of French involvement in Indian politics.
Many of our Freedom Fighters were motivated by French revolution. The slogan of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity also dominated Indian struggle for freedom. These ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity was also included in our Constitution. One more thing that was included was Concept of Republic. Raja Rammohan Roy was among the great reformist persons in Indian history who helped women to get their rights via education and abolishing sati pratha. He was also inspired by French revolution.
Now a days Indo French Relation is of its best of all times. President Emmanuel Macron has shown his inclination towards India and the major driving factor for it is Indo French cooperation in defence, space, arms etc. Recently we bought 36 French fighter jets “Rafale” from Dassault Aviation a French company. In space sector we have major cooperation with CNES (French Space Agency).
France, earlier colonising country still has control over many island and nations in various oceans called overseas territory of France. Best of the rocket launching sites are assumed to be near equator i.e. launching conditions are best at the equator or nearby , here France has helped us many times. It has its overseas territory in South America called French Guiana which is almost at equator , hence they have launched many of our satellites from there.
Despite these advantages we also share political similarities. In recent years France faced many terror attacks and one of most famous Charlie Hebdo case, and recent beheading of school teacher made French mood against terrorism a motto that India has been raising on various international forums. We can encroach more on this issue. We both are secular countries and France being a biggest proponent of it since long time, the idea of Liberty Equality and Fraternity has originated from that land. So Liberty is one of the most important issue in their internal politics, and they try to take Liberty at the maximum stage i.e. freedom of religion , freedom of speech , views etc. and sometimes when these dissect each other it becomes a major political debate (like previous case mentioned) . This led Emmanuel Macron make laws against religiously motivated terrorism which drew mass criticism from whole Muslim world and also from within the nation. Laicite (secularism) in France is a major issue as I told earlier they take rights seriously.
India made formal entry of France into the power struggle between India and China into the Indian Ocean. Recently France became member of IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) because France has a major Reunion Island in Indian Ocean and in this time both are close allies. IORA was made to for increasing cooperation among countries in Indian Ocean region and India invested heavily. For your information there are 23 members in this group France being 23rd. Pakistan and China are not member of this organisation (China is observer state). So after considering these points we can expect France to be a good ally. From 1st of January India will be in the security council as non permanent member but a non permanent
member doesn’t have as much authority that a permanent member holds i.e. power to veto. France is also a member of European Union which is as of now strongest group in world scenario which can be fruitful for India for having a good friendship with a member of that organization.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s tenure is about to end in 2022 and in fresh elections he wants to strengthen the position of France on the world stage. He has also earned some of hatred from within the nation for his stance on issue related to terrorism. But still it’s one the most powerful and developed nations of the world and it will always be fruitful for both of India and France to have good relations with each other. It’s up to you to decide whether France can be as good ally as Russia but keep in mind India in not that weak as it used to be some times ago. So the question might also arise do we even need an ally like Russia who was once ever ready for saving us on various platforms.
So this is the end of blog. I have tried my best to give you a sort of basic information about Indo French ties. Pardon for my mistakes suggestions/corrections whole heartedly welcomed.
Follow us on social media
You may also like