India and France on Saturday decided to launch joint projects in Africa, particularly in the area of sustainable development in connection with the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
This was announced here at a press conference by visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian after wide-ranging talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
He said respective joint secretaries of India and France dealing with Africa, who had held preliminary consultations earlier this week, would soon submit a progress report on these joint projects. The two ministers are understood to have discussed steps to deepen bilateral strategic partnership through cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, civil nuclear cooperation, defence and security, space and trade. This was the second meeting between the two ministers in the past six months, reflecting the increasing momentum in high-level exchanges.
The visiting minister said the two sides had reviewed the status of the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) project in Jaitapur being built by France and adopted an action plan to give a concrete shape to the proposal. The Jaitapur project would also contribute to India’s ‘Make in India’ programme as it involved the transfer of production, technology, joint research, and training.
The French minister and Swaraj reiterated the resolve of their two countries to combat terrorism. They also agreed to strengthen bilateral exchanges on the Indian Ocean.
France, Drian said, firmly believed that through culture, tourism and people-to-people ties, the two countries would forge strong links between their people. “’We expect a great deal from our university, scientific, educational and linguistic cooperation. I am also delighted that, with 700,000 Indian visitors in 2017, France, the foremost tourist power globally, has become the top European destination for our Indian friends,” he added.