October 30th 2021
Rome: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday met French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the G20 summit here and the two leaders had “productive discussions” on the strategic bilateral ties and on a range of issues of mutual and global interests including the Indo-Pacific.
Prime Minister Modi, who is here at the invitation of his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi, was accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during his meeting with Macron.
“Delighted to meet my friend, President @EmmanuelMacron in Rome. Our talks revolved around enhancing cooperation in diverse areas and boosting people-to-people relations,” Modi tweeted after the meeting.
The Prime Minister’s Office said that the two leaders had “productive discussions” on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
“India and France are cooperating extensively in various sectors. Today’s talks will add momentum to the bilateral ties between the two nations,” it added.
The two leaders “discussed India-France cooperation on various subjects and reaffirmed their commitment to the Strategic Partnership,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
They also discussed global and regional developments, he added.
Briefing the media, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that Prime Minister Modi has invited French President Macron to visit India.
The meeting comes more than a month after the two leaders held a telephonic conversation, amidst Paris’ strong criticism of the AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) security partnership.
Shringla said that the issue of the AUKUS came up during the meeting but it was not the major subject.
There was no discussion on the Quad, he added, referring to a bloc comprising India, Japan, the US and Australia formed to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific free of any influence.
“Prime Minister Modi welcomed the European Union’s Indo-Pacific strategy,” Shringla said, noting that during his meeting with the EU leaders Friday, the prime minister highlighted that France had played an important role in facilitating EU Indo-Pacific strategy and he thanked the French President for his leadership role in developing this strategy.
“The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate in the Indo-Pacific, to find new and innovative ways to cooperate to further the objective of free, open and inclusive rules-based order in the region. There was also discussion on the forthcoming COP26 and Climate change related issues and the need to focus on climate finance,” Shringla added.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the resource-rich region.
During the telephonic conversation last month, Modi and Macron had agreed to “act jointly” in the Indo-Pacific to keep the region stable, rules-based and free from any hegemony.
At the time, the two had reviewed the increasing bilateral collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region and the important role that the India-France partnership plays in promoting stability and security in the region.
They had vowed to maintain regular discussions to coordinate ahead of upcoming events, in particular the G20 and the COP26 on climate change, and continue with their joint actions against the COVID-19 pandemic.