External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday held wide-ranging and productive talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian here during which he discussed bilateral cooperation, Indo-Pacific and the Ukraine situation.
Jaishankar reached France on Sunday after concluding his visit to Germany where he attended the Munich Security Conference 2022.
Arrived in Paris. Held wide-ranging and productive talks with FM @JY_LeDrian. Discussions on bilateral cooperation, Ukraine situation, Indo-Pacific and JCPOA reflected our deep trust & global partnership. Look forward to participating in EU Ministerial Forum on Indo- Pacific, Jaishankar said on Twitter.
In their talks, Jaishankar and Le Drian appreciated the close cooperation between India and France during the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed to further deepen the strategic partnership, particularly in the areas of trade and investments, defence and security, health, education, research and innovation, energy and climate change, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
As part of this endeavour, both sides adopted the India-France Roadmap on the Blue Economy and Ocean Governance', which aims to enhance partnership in the field of blue economy by way of institutional, economic, infrastructural and scientific cooperation, it said.
With the goal of further facilitating people-to-people contact, the two ministers also agreed to continue and enhance their cooperation in the field of sports and agreed to soon conclude a Joint Declaration of Intent in the Area of Sports, the MEA said.
Additionally, they agreed to strengthen the long-standing cooperation on public administration and administrative reforms between the relevant authorities in India and France, it said.
Jaishankar and Le Drian also discussed key regional and global issues, particularly the India-EU relationship and the priorities of the French Presidency of the EU Council that began on January 1, 2022.
Jaishankar appreciated the French initiative of hosting an EU Ministerial Forum on Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific on February 22, 2022, where he will participate along with several other ministers from Indo-Pacific and EU countries.
They also agreed to intensify India-EU ties under the French Presidency, and the need to begin negotiations on the India-EU Free Trade and Investment Agreements and implement the India-EU Connectivity Partnership.
In the context of the EU Ministerial Forum, the two ministers agreed to jointly launch the Indo-French call for an "Indo-Pacific Parks Partnership during the EU Forum on February 22, 2022.
This partnership aims to build capacities in the Indo-Pacific region, in terms of sustainable management of protected areas, by gathering and sharing the experiences and expertise that exist in the region among key Indo-Pacific public and private natural park managers.
Jaishankar and Le Drian also exchanged perspectives on the situation in Afghanistan, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the evolving situation in Ukraine.
They reiterated their shared commitment to the principles of multilateralism and a rules-based order, and agreed to coordinate in the UN Security Council on issues of mutual concern.
Russia has amassed an estimated 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine. The move has brought increasingly strong warnings from the West that Moscow intends to invade. However, Russia has repeatedly denied that it plans to invade Ukraine.
During his visit to France, Jaishankar will also hold meetings with other French dignitaries, EU Commissioners as well as with his counterparts from other Indo-Pacific countries participating in the EU Indo-Pacific Forum.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
Beijing is also involved in a maritime dispute with Japan over the East China Sea. Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also vital to global trade.