India, France and the United Arab Emirates declared their common intent to formalise a “Trilateral Cooperative initiative” to collaborate on nuclear energy and explore opportunities in the Indian Ocean region.
About the initiative:
Background: The trilateral was first discussed when the three foreign Ministers had met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2022.
All the three countries agreed to work together in the field of solar and nuclear energy, climate change and biodiversity.
Objective: It will serve as a forum to promote the design and execution of cooperation projects in the fields of energy, with a focus on solar and nuclear energy, as well as in the fight against climate change and the protection of biodiversity, particularly in the Indian Ocean region.
The countries have also agreed to cooperate in defence preparation and in countering infectious diseases.
Following the alliance, multilateral organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi-the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund, and Unitaid will be encouraged.
The three countries will also attempt to identify tangible cooperation on implementing the “One Health” approach, and support the development of local capacities in biomedical innovation and production within developing countries.
A range of trilateral events will be held in the backdrop of the Indian Presidency of the G20 here and COP28 to be held in UAE in November-December 2023.
India and UAE have entered into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by signing the CEPA in February, 2022.
This agreement will boost bilateral trade between the two countries and benefit both the economies.
Significance of UAE:
UAE is the third largest trading partnerof India after China and USA.
The UAE has established itself as a major economic hubnot just in the Middle East/West Asia region, but also globally.
As a part of Gulf Cooperation Council,UAE can help in finalising the FTA between Indian and the GCC.
India-UAE relations have become a focal point of India's Extended Neighbourhood and Look West policies in the region.This deal will further boost the relation between the two countries.
India’s Extended Neighbourhood:
In 2004 the Indian government affirmed that “the concept” of an “extended neighbourhood for India” included the region from the Suez Canal to the South China Sea and includes within it West Asia, the Gulf, Central Asia, South East Asia, East Asia, the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region.
Look West Policy: In the year 2005, the government of India launched its Look West Policy which focused on India improving its relations with West Asian countries.
The three main axes of India’s Look West Policy are- The Arab Gulf countries, Israel and Iran.
India and France share a dynamic and multifaceted relationship.
Both countries signed a strategic partnership agreement in 1998.
Frequent interactions at the highest political levels, comprehensive defence cooperation and dynamic cultural linkages have further contributed to maturing the partnership.
Convergence of their views on multi-polar world order and their belief in multilateralism for addressing international challenges help them in developing greater political synergy at the global level.
India and France have been expanding their relationship amid changing regional and global dynamics.
France has been termed by India as its “Gateway to Europe”.
Defence cooperation is a crucial aspect of India-France strategic partnership.
There has been regular exchange of visits at the level of Services Chiefs between India and France.
Both countries have regular defence exercises such as Shakti - Army, Varuna - Navy and Garuda -Air Force.
India and France signed the Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region.
France has also been supplier to India’s armoury. This includes India buying 36 Rafale fighters from France.
India and France are also participants of Project-75 which would help India acquire Scorpene class submarines.