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India - France : 25th year of Strategic Partnership

India and France established diplomatic relations in 1947 after India gained independence from British rule. The two nations have shared a cordial relationship since then, with mutual respect and cooperation in various fields. However, it was not until the early 1990s that India and France began to engage in a strategic partnership. In 1998, India conducted its nuclear tests, which led to international sanctions against India. France was the only country that did not support the sanctions and continued to engage with India, even increasing its cooperation in various fields.

The strategic partnership between India and France officially began in 1998 when both countries signed a Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership. Since then, the relationship has evolved significantly and has been marked by frequent high-level visits, joint military exercises, and collaborations in areas such as defense, nuclear energy, space, and counter-terrorism.


The defense partnership between India and France has been one of the most significant areas of collaboration. France has been one of India's most reliable suppliers of military hardware, with India purchasing French fighter jets, submarines, and helicopters. India and France also conduct joint military exercises regularly, including the Varuna naval exercise and the Garuda air exercise.

Nuclear Energy:

France has been a significant partner in India's civilian nuclear program. In 2008, India and France signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement that paved the way for French companies to participate in India's nuclear power generation program. French companies have been involved in the construction of several nuclear power plants in India, including the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra.


India and France have also collaborated in the field of space technology. In 2018, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the French space agency (CNES) signed an agreement to set up a joint maritime surveillance system to track maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean region. The two countries have also collaborated on several other space-related projects, including the Megha-Tropiques climate monitoring satellite.

Trade and Investment:

France has been one of India's most significant trading partners in Europe, with bilateral trade between the two countries reaching $13.2 billion in 2020. French companies have invested heavily in India, with over 1000 French companies operating in India, providing employment to over 300,000 people.


The India-France strategic partnership has come a long way since its inception 25 years ago. The relationship has been characterized by mutual respect, trust, and cooperation in various fields. The partnership has been a significant contributor to peace and stability in the region and beyond. With both countries sharing common values and interests, the partnership is expected to deepen further in the coming years.

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