India and France: Innovation, Sustainability and Multilateral Cooperation Track 1.5 Dialogue
Ifri and Gateway House (Indian Council on Global Affairs) convened their first multi-stakeholder dialogue to explore the opportunities and challenges of expanding Franco-Indian ties.
As part of a three-year initiative by the two institutes, the annual event brings together experts, government officials, and business leaders in a closed-door format to investigate ways for enhancing the relationship between France and India. This first event focused on the broad-level state of the India-France partnership and delved into specifics in the areas of digital affairs and the energy transition.
OPENING SESSION: Prospects for deepening cooperation between France and India
10:00 – 10:55 CET/14:30 – 15:25 IST
Welcome Remarks: Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Gateway House, and Françoise Nicolas, Director, Center for Asian Studies, Ifri
Keynote Addresses (pre-recorded)
- Harsh V. Shringla, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, India
- François Delattre, Secretary General, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France
Conversation: India-France bilateral cooperation
- Jawed Ashraf, Ambassador of India to France
- Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India
Chair: Thierry de Montbrial, Executive Chairman of Ifri
SESSION 1: Digital Collaboration: Imagining the Future
10:55 – 11:40 CET/15:25 – 16:10 IST
India and France have joined together bilaterally and multilaterally in digital cooperation. Cybersecurity is an area of joint concern, but there is also collaboration in Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing. An investment and understanding of each other’s eco- systems has begun – a welcome step for countries with common and complementary technological strengths. France and India have both endeavored to build their digital sovereignty, to support the growth of local digital ecosystems, and to manage the economic and security risks associated with the domination of American or Chinese tech players. They can share lessons learned from their respective efforts. Finally, India and France can jointly consider how to bring innovation and digital equity to countries in the Indo-Pacific and in Africa, both regions of common interest.
- Alice Pannier, Head, Geopolitics of Technology, Ifri
- Sanjay Anandaram, Ambassador, iSpirt (Digital Public Goods)
Discussion with participants
Chair: Manjeet Kripalani, Executive Director, Gateway House
SESSION 2: Energy Transitions: Deepening and Diversifying
11:40 – 12:25 CET/16:10 – 16:55 IST
India and France already have on-going collaborations in energy, most notably in nuclear power, supplying city gas, or co-presiding the International Solar Alliance. Cooperation was ramped up in March 2021 when the two countries signed an agreement for renewable energy cooperation – solar, wind, hydrogen and biomass - to help India achieve its 450 GW renewable capacity target by 2030. Hydrogen is especially promising due to its role in decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors, including industry and heavy transport. France has been an early promoter of hydrogen plan, and India also has ambitious plans for green hydrogen production, use and exports. The latter requires new technologies and know-how which France can potentially provide, while India offers its large market, and a need to decarbonize the economy and improve the viability of the renewable energy industry.
- Carole Mathieu, Head of EU Policies, Center for Energy & Climate, Ifri
- Amit Bhandari, Senior Fellow, Energy & Environment Studies Programme, Gateway House
Discussion with participants
Chair: Françoise Nicolas, Director, Center for Asian Studies, Ifri