On the eve of their Republic Day, India has decided to invite a special guest to elevate their status on the EU table. French President Emmanuel Macron is the special guest all set to attend the Republic Day celebration; all eyes are on this big event as there is enormous anticipation in place about the talk of a bumper trade deal between two of the heavyweights of their continent. France is a key member of the European Union contingent, and India and the European Union are all poised to work out a feasible solution for a comprehensive trade agreement.
The trade deal holds comprehensible importance because this is not the first time something has been brewing; around a year and a half back, June 2022 to be precise, there was an attempt to rework/ restart the discussion that had come to a halt for 8 years; because the last time this was on the table was all the way back in 2013. So, the visit on this auspicious day marks it as a game-changer, breathing in new life and power in these negotiations.
However, it doesn’t end there; the talks of the visit aren’t just limited to trade. It is believed that the topics would encompass everything, ranging from defense and energy to space collaboration. Experts claim this visit isn’t just a step in the right direction; instead, they believe this is a marvelous leap to a bright future as this round of meetings could fastrack multiple areas of mutual interest between India and the EU.
France is a big player for India in terms of trade, being the eighth largest trading partner. Both countries are actively involved in talks about the India-EU trade deal. These discussions touch on crucial things like market access, intellectual property rights, and making it easier for investments. The talks might branch into areas like counterterrorism, intelligence sharing, and defense technology transfer.
One of the most exciting collaborations would be between India’s space agency (ISRO) and France’s space agency (CNES), as ISRO is known for its efficiency in cost control and getting the best out of allotted resources; France is known for their technological advances and R&D. This teaming up for joint missions and technology exchange could result in significant advancement in huge sectors such as renewable energy, green energy, and sustainable infrastructure, there is also a high potential collaboration touted in the civil nuclear sector.
The relationship between India and France however is not just built on trade numbers; they have been an exceptional partner for quite some time. More than 1,000 French companies have an established base in India and close to 200 Indian businesses are present in France. A phenomenal partnership, yes, built on the back of a very strong financial foundation, in 2022-23 the trade value between India and France stood at a high of $19.2 billion.
Major goods exported by India include commodities and products such as Diesel, Smartphones, and Medicines. The goods exported from France to India are Planes, helicopters, and Spacecraft. A huge chunk of the foreign direct investment (FDI) received in Indian equity markets is routed through France, making them the 11th largest contributor. A total of $10.5 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flew in from April 2000 to March 2023. This shows French companies believe in the Indian market, setting the stage for more economic collaboration.
In a nutshell, Macron’s visit during Republic Day isn’t just a ceremonial event; it’s a crucial moment for strengthening economic ties between India and France. The upcoming talks in February 2023 for the India-EU trade deal make this visit even more strategic, marking a significant step in the evolving partnership between India and France.