India-France Relations: Look to the Indian Ocean

Unique quality to the Franco-Indian relationship.

India-France Relations: Look to the Indian Ocean

“At a grand strategic level, France and India’s interests in the Indian Ocean are closely aligned.”

By Iskander Rehman

Since his investiture last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has startled many observers with the hyperactive nature of his foreign policy. Inevitably, journalistic commentary tends to focus primarily on the Modi administration’s diplomatic engagement with established great powers, such as the United States, or with emerging behemoths such as China. In contrast, when India’s relations with European nations are discussed, it is almost invariably through the softer, blurrier, lens of economic and trade-related issues.

There is, however, a “hard” aspect to India’s ties with certain industrialized middle powers in Europe – and all too often the strategic dimension of these relationships is overlooked. This is particularly true with regard to the French Republic. There has always been a rather unique quality to the Franco-Indian relationship. Even at the height of the Cold War, when India’s rapport with NATO was frequently colored by mistrust, relations between Paris and New Delhi remained relatively cordial. Although French security elites were discomforted by India’s rapprochement with the Soviet Union in the 1970s, their own cherished concept of strategic autonomy provided them with a degree of empathy for India’s quest for maneuverability within a polarized international system.

To continue reading, please click here.


Previous Article
Next Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *