The Editorial,,,,


Topic: Consolidating ties with France

Like many things French, the country's relationship with India is an understated one. Yet, as President François Hollande wrapped up his three-day visit to  India, it would be a mistake to underestimate  what  the India-France relationship has come to mean over the decades, devoid though it is of  the grand claims attached to India's relations with the big world powers. Russia may be India's oldest and biggest military supplier, the U.S. India's newest close defence partner, and China India's biggest trading partner, but it is France that was India's first strategic partner. As a result, and through the strategic dialogue institutionalised since 1998, France and India have  close ties on counterterrorism. These have  been given a boost by  the agreement on intelligence-sharing and cooperation on investigations and judicial processes announced during the visit. In fact, Prime Minister Modi described the common threats from "Paris to  Pathankot". On other fronts too,  the relationship has held strong. Despite global recrimination over the nuclear tests in 1998, France was the first to  re-start nuclear talks with India, and among the first to  push nuclear trade with India in later years. While the Rafale aircraft deal has overshadowed much of  the discussion on French ties in the past few  days, the fact is that France began to  supply India aircraft ('Toofani', or Dassault Ouragan fighters) as early  as in 1953,  and has been a consistent supplier since. And over the years, the French space agency CNES and the Indian Space Research Organisation have  collaborated closely.  It  should therefore come as no surprise that Mr. Hollande's  marked the fifth visit by  a French President as Chief Guest at  the Republic Day parade, something Mr. Modi referred to  when he said India-France relations have  "cleared every test over time".

However,  the test that the two sides have  not yet cleared is the one in bilateral trade. Despite 10  per cent growth in most years and more than a thousand French companies operating in India, India-France trade hovers  around $8 billion, which amounts to  half of  India's trade with the U.K. or Germany. A big reason for this is the impasse in India's economic relations with the European Union, which have been hanging fire for more than a year now;France is more vulnerable here than its neighbours. Mr. Modi's expected visit to  Brussels for the EU  summit in the next few weeks could clear the path for greater bilateral ties with France as well, but India must look to  other ways to  build on this relationship. Some of  those will come from the joint ventures and partnerships envisaged during Mr. Hollande's  visit, on infrastructure such as railways, smart cities and renewable energy projects. But much more needs to  come from Indian businesses engaging with France, even as the  government moves on long-promised reforms to  aid exporters. To  quote Mr. Hollande at  the CEO forum, speaking about bilateral trade: "We must go faster, much faster and even then it's too slow."

Important words with Hindi:

Consolidate: मजबूत करना o make (something, such as a position of power or control)stronger or more secure

Wrap up: पूरा करना summarize end finish

Devoid: रहित being without a usual or expected attribute

Dialogue: संवाद वार्तालाप बातचीत a conversation between two or more people

Counterterrorism: आतंकवादरोधी as a reaction against terrorism

Boost: बढ़ाना encouragement help

Threat: आतंक

Recrimination: प्रत्यारोपण an angry statement in which you criticize a person who has criticized you

Overshadow: फीका कर देना निष्प्रभ कर देना make appear small by comparison

Bilateral: द्वीपक्षीय involving two groups or countries

Hover: आस पास होना to stay near a specified point or level

Impasse: बंद गली, गतिरोध a situation in which no progress seems possible

Hang fire:  शुरु में विलम्ब होना delay hesitate

Vulnerable: असुरक्षित कमजोर आघात योग्य open to attack harm or damage

Envisage:  विचार करना  form a mental

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