France-India relationship is of almost existential nature, says French envoy Alexandre Ziegler

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Published: August 22, 2019 8:33:36 AM

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France, outgoing French envoy in India Alexandre Ziegler said the relationship between the two countries is of an almost "existential nature" and goes beyond economic interests.

Ziegler said that beyond diplomatic slogans, he believes in the almost “existential nature” of the Indo-French relationship (File Photo)

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France, outgoing French envoy in India Alexandre Ziegler said the relationship between the two countries is of an almost “existential nature” and goes beyond economic interests. Modi will pay a two-day state visit to France from August 22 during which he will hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron to strengthen strategic ties in key sectors such as defence, nuclear energy, maritime cooperation and counterterrorism.

From France, the prime minister will proceed for bilateral visits to the UAE and Bahrain, and will return to the French city of Biarritz on August 25 to attend the G7 Summit, where India has been invited as a partner country. “We are not living in an easy period. The markers on which we had built our international system over 70 years are falling apart before our very eyes or are deeply challenged: values like democracy, adherence to international law, multilateralism, the desire to cooperate together when we need to face the new challenges of the world, such as climate change, terrorism, or internet governance,” he said at his farewell reception.

“Let’s be realistic. Perhaps in a few years there will be a dozen — or maybe less — major countries in the world with which we, French and Europeans, will be able to forge alliances to protect and reform this international order,” the French envoy said. “India will obviously be among these countries. I see in this observation one of the most absolute justifications of our partnership with India,” he said.

He said that beyond diplomatic slogans, he believes in the almost “existential nature” of the Indo-French relationship. “Of course, there are economic and strategic interests for France in this country, and they are huge. But there’s far more than this,” he said.

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