Joint media briefing: Statement by the French President
President Hollande’s statement to the press during the joint media briefing with Prime Minister Modi at Hyderabad House, 25 January, 2016.
Unofficial translation – check against delivery
New Delhi, 25 January 2016
The President : Prime Minister, I am aware of the honour that is bestowed with this invitation to participate on Republic Day, honour that is conferred on France as a whole and that is witness to the exceptional relationship between our two countries.
Yes, I am proud to celebrate with you the anniversary of your constitution, the constitution of democratic India, the constitution of an open country, peaceful and an ally of France.
I wanted to come here today to respond to this prestigious invitation and at the same time mark a new step in the strategic partnership that was established in 1998 between France and India.
I also wanted to be here to greet Prime Minister Modi’s action, which was particularly welcome during the Paris climate conference.
I knew what hopes the Prime Minister bore. I also knew what his reluctance could be. He wanted climate justice to be proclaimed in this agreement. He wanted developing countries, vulnerable countries to be able to benefit from high fundings. He, finally, wanted that innovation could be shared. That technology could be spread and that what he proposed for his country, with a plan for solar energy, could equally be carried out at a global level.
If with Laurent Fabius we were happy to welcome the Paris agreement, we know to whom we owe it to, especially to Prime Minister Modi.
He said himself “France and India have made the choice of a strategic partnership that comprises requirements for security, defence and stability.”
France and India are conscious of the threats that peace faces at this moment, especially terrorism, because both our two countries were victims of terror during the recent months. I thank Prime Minister Modi and the Indian people for the support that they gave us during this hardship, last January as well as in November last year. France will never forget these gestures of friendship coming from all over the world, especially from India, which was struck by terrorist attacks of which French citizens were victims.
We know who has struck us. It is Daesh, which later claimed its crimes, which exhibits the perpetrators of its crimes, of its murders, which broadcasts images of atrocities. I affirm it here, we will never be terror-stricken and those abhorrent provocations amplify our resolution even more. They amplify the resolution I have taken to protect the French through the decisions I took and uphold. But also to strike, strike again at this organization that threatens us and kills our children.
It is the reason why we have decided, Prime Minister Modi and myself, to intensify our cooperation against terrorism, to reinforce the exchange of intelligence, to fight even more against the traffics that fuel terrorism. We have even decided a roadmap to fight against all trafficking, especially in the Indian Ocean, and to ensure maritime security. We have also established, in the field of cybersecurity, instruments that will strengthen our systems of defence.
I thank Prime Minister Modi for his words, in particular regarding the military cooperation between France and India.
When he came to Paris in April 2015, he affirmed his wish to purchase 36 Rafale aircrafts. We have worked since then. I would like to remind that those are the same aircrafts that are currently fighting against Daesh in Syria and in Iraq and display their capacity.
We have just signed an intergovernmental agreement through our Defence ministers. It is a decisive step for India to purchase those aircrafts and for France to deliver them to such a great country as India.
I am delighted. Financial aspects remain and will be solved in the next few days; but the essential part has been done today. In April it was a declaration, today it is an agreement between our two governments and between our two countries. I am happy that trust is there ; trust from India in French industry, defense, trust from France in India, because we are in the “Make in India”, and I subscribe to this vision.
I am also here, as the Prime Minister said, to implement the commitments we took during the Paris climate conference.
As I said, cooperation between France and India was decisive, because India chose to set a high level of ambition to produce 40% of its electricity by 2030 from renewable energies. So France must stand alongside India.
Thus, we decided on an exceptional cooperation, first in favour of smart cities. Yesterday we were in Chandigarh, a historic city, a city where France and India have already cooperated. Then, through this example, but also in other cities, Nagpur and Puducherry (there are 100 in the Prime Minister’s program), we will put our expertise, our capacities, the capacities of our companies, to service of this beautiful idea of smart cities.
In particular in sanitation, waste management and circular economy. Numerous agreements were signed today and others will be signed tomorrow.
Then there is the International Solar Alliance. At the beginning it is an idea - everything starts from an idea -, then it is a dream: that it is possible to conclude an international alliance to develop solar energy.
Today it is an agreement we are acting on, as we will lay the foundation stone of this Alliance and we will be able to open to at least 100 countries the possibility to access solar energy.
There too, France wanted to be at the initiative by gathering companies, Terawatt, that are directly mobilized for the Solar Alliance.
During this visit, which is not over, we have signed numerous agreements on transport, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, health, culture. I want to thank all businessmen who accompanied me and have made it possible to achieve those results.
They have all understood that if they want to develop here in India, they need to transfer technologies, they need to work in the spirit of « Make in India ». There are 1000 French companies present in India. There are investments that will not stop increasing, in all areas. I wouldn’t want you to talk only about defense, because there are so many other areas involved, even if it is true that Rafale is a symbol.
We have also developed cooperation on space. It is an area in which India and France have worked for 50 years. Civil nuclear energy, too. Is there a better example of trust than the technology we share on civil nuclear energy?
There too there has been considerable progress. We are in the prospect of building 6 EPR in Jaitapur. We have good hope to be able to conclude in one year.
India, as well as you, Mister Prime Minister, you have trust in technology, innovation, research. So do we. The fact that a big country like India, the most populated country in the world, and a country like France, with its history, share the same trust in science and research is a sign that democracies are robust, democracies are productive, democracies are innovative. We have also developed cooperation on research, higher education and culture, because our two countries are passionate about culture.
You wish that we put technology at the service of culture, Mister Prime Minister. You mentioned your city, Varanasi, you wish that we spread together all the works of heritage, all the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi, for the world to be inspired from.
Technology can also be used by democracies to fight against those who wish for hate and death. Facing them, we must organize to produce hope and the accomplishment of humanity. This is the project for which we work together. This is the reason why this visit is exceptional. Exceptional because it happens on the day you celebrate your Constitution, exceptional because we are committed to deliver the results of the climate conference, exceptional because we have strengthened our strategic partnership; exceptional because, from defense to culture, we defend the same ideal.