India and France signed 20 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and Agreements on 10 April 2015 to give new impetus to bilateral co-operation between the two nations.
The two nations signed agreements covering the fields of Defence and Nuclear Energy, Space, Economic relations, Railways, Energy, Tourism, Science and Technology, Skill Development and Ayurveda.
The MoUs and Agreements were signed during visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to France between 9 April and 12 April 2015.
Defence and Nuclear Energy
• MoU between L&T and AREVA: The MoU aims at cost reduction by increasing localization, to improve the financial viability of Jaitapur project. It will also enable transfer of technology and development of indigenous nuclear energy industry in India.
• Pre-engineering agreements (PEA) between NPCIL and Areva: It was signed with an aim to bring clarity on all technical aspects of the plant so that all parties (AREVA, Alstom and NPCIL) can firm up their price and optimize all provisions for risks still included at this stage in the costs of the project.
• MoU between on Megha Tropiques: The MoU seeks to extend the sharing and use of data from the Megha Tropiques satellite by 2 more years. The satellite, a joint project between ISRO and CNES, was launched aboard Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on 12 October 2011
• MOU for Ka-band propagation experiment over Indian tropical region: It envisages cooperation between ISRO, CNES and ONERA for implementation of the project concerning Ka-band propagation experiment over Indian tropical region.
• Programme between ISRO and French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES): It proposes cooperation in the areas of Remote sensing, satellite communications and satellite meteorology; space sciences and planetary exploration amongst others.
• MoU on Cooperation in Sports: The MoU envisages cooperation and exchange of experiences in the fields of sports medicine, management and coordination of sports federations and establishment of National Institute of Sports in India based on French model of INSEP.
• MoU on cooperation in the field of renewable energy: It seeks to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable energy issues. It would cover solar, wind, bio-energy, tidal and wave energy sectors.
• Railway protocol between Indian Ministry of Railways and French National Railways (SNCF): The Protocol seeks to establish cooperation between Indian and French Railways for semi-high speed rail and station renovation.
• Guarantee Agreement with AFD Financing of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL): The Agreement seeks to finance Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)
Culture, Heritage Conservation, Tourism, People-To-People Contacts
• Administrative Arrangement in the field of Cultural Heritage: The Administrative Arrangement between the Indian Ministry of Culture and French Ministry of Culture and Communication envisages cooperation in the field of cultural heritage, through training of Indian heritage conservation professionals at the Institute National du Patrimoine (INP).
• Letter of Intent (LoI)on Tourism: Seeks to increase cooperation in tourism sector between India and France and promote sustainable bilateral tourism between the two countries The LoI also seeks to facilitate twinning of sites having historical, natural and cultural significance in India and France for promoting them as tourist destinations.
• Letter of Intent (LoI) between the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP): The LoI envisages collaboration on preventive archaeology projects, initiatives to disseminate culture and promote archaeology, training programmes for specialists of ASI and deployment of expertise, in particular, in the field of underwater archaeology.
• MoU between School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi and National Architecture Institute in Paris, France: It envisages cooperation to undertake joint planning and geographical studies in India and France and training of local counterparts in modern urban and regional planning.
• MoU between Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation (IHCN) and Association Nationale des Villes et Pays d’Art et d’Histoire et villes a secteurs sauvegardés et protégés (ANVPAH): It envisages cooperation in the fields of sustainable development, urban planning, heritage conservation and up-gradation of basic services.
• Volontariat International en Entreprise (VIE) scheme: The scheme offers Indian Visa for 12 months renewable once for a period of 12 months for 250 French students and a ‘second residence permit’ of 12 months for the Indian students in France following the 12 months already granted.
• Letter of Intent on Ayurveda between Ministry of Ayush and University of Strasbourg: It allows both the parties to strengthen their relationships and cooperation in the area of Ayurveda education and research and conducting joint workshops/conferences on Ayurveda as complimentary medicine in France
• MoU between National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), India and the National Commission for Vocational Qualifications (Commission Nationale de la Certification Professionnelle – CNCD): The agreement will facilitate exchange of information and knowledge about maintenance of qualification registers through information exchanges, visits and other suitable meetings.
Science and Technology
• MoU on cooperation in the field of Science & Technology: For cooperation between the two countries in the areas of applied mathematics, physics, Information & communication technology, water resources and environment, life sciences amongst others and establishment of Virtual Joint Laboratories, and establishment of Joint Research Centres.
• MoU on Collaboration for establishment of a National Institute of Marine Biology and Biotechnology in India: The proposed MoU seeks to establish a National Institute of Marine Biology and Biotechnology in India, with a Hub and Spoke network of laboratories spanning India’s marine regions from the Andaman to Lakshadweep.
Apart from this, India also agreed to buy 36 multi-role Combat Aircraft Rafale fighter jets in a flyway condition. Prime Minister Modi during his visit to France also gifted a painting titled Tree of Life, reflecting traditional societal respect for nature in India to the French President Francois Hollande.
The Tree of Life, with multiple roots and branches like a banyan tree, is a motif for a tree’s benevolence, fruit, seeds, shelter, healing, procreation and regeneration faculties that sustain life and clean the environment.
Who: India and France
When: 10 April 2015