France on Thursday announced that under its presidency of the Council of the European Union, it will host a ministerial meeting focused on the Indo-Pacific — Paris Forum — on February 22.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced this during an online discussion and extended an invite to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who also took part in the event titled “The French Presidency: EU-India Partnership in the Indo Pacific”.
Le Drian said it will be the first time that in the EU council presidency there will be an event focussed on the relations between the EU and the Indo-Pacific.
This Indo-Pacific meeting will be held on February 22 and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles will be in Paris for it, he said.
Le Drian hoped for Jaishankar and other partners to participate in the event and contribute to the peace and stability in the region.
“What I wish is for this Paris Forum to allow for the concretisation of the principles we share with respect to rule of law, harmonious relations and post-Covid recovery,” he said. Le Drian said security and defence, connectivity and digital issues and global challenges will be on the agenda of the Indo-Pacific ministerial meeting in Paris.
The French foreign minister asserted that India plays a key role in the Indo-Pacific.
In his remarks, Jaishankar said the French aircraft flying at the finale of the Republic Day parade was a visible example of the strategic ties between India and France.
Asserting that France has an Indo-Pacific resident presence, Jaishankar called for strengthening the India-France partnership and said that focusing it on the Indo-Pacific is timely.
“I welcome the invite for EU Ministerial Forum being organised by France next month and it will be an honour to participate in it,” he said.