- French President Francois Hollande committed €300 million (around $325 million or Rs. 2,200 crore) over the next five years for the global development of solar energy
- Mr. Hollande announced after inaugurating the interim Secretariat of the International Solar Alliance at Gurgaon, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- Through this solar alliance, the French President would like to open a new chapter to help give countries with no resources other than the sun an opportunity to produce electricity for meeting the needs of most of their people.
About International Solar Alliance
- The International Solar Alliance, envisaged to bring together 122 countries that lie wholly or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn,
- It is an initiative announced by Mr. Modi at the COP 21 Summit in Paris in November.
- The member countries are to be those that enjoy 300 or more days in a year of bright sunlight.
- The Alliance would focus on three broad areas.
- First, it is about pooling together the requests of countries with a huge potential in order to reduce their cost of capital.
- Second, it is about opening the markets in order to reduce the cost of investment.
- Third, it is about transferring the necessary technology and know-how from developed to developing countries
- The challenge is also to bring in investments. The estimated amount necessary for the advancement of this energy to be more than $1 trillion. Therefore all resources provided by the COP 21 is mobilised so that they are made available to all the countries willing to develop solar energy
India France Bilateral talks
- India and France signed 14 agreements, including an intergovernmental agreement for purchase of Rafale fighters, nuclear reactors, French railway locomotives and a major commitment to counter terror cooperation.
- The two leaders came together for their official bilateral talks a day before participating in the Republic Day parade.
- However the financial component of the deal is yet to be finalised
- The two sides said they would embark on new ways of cooperation on fighting terrorism, including intelligence-sharing and joint exercises along with the annual strategic dialogues and a joint working group on counter terrorism meetings.
- They called for “decisive action to be taken against Lashkar-e-Tayibba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda,” urging Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Patahankot and Gurdaspur attacks and the 2008 Mumbai attack, in which two French nationals were among those killed.
- At least three of the 14 agreements signed were on expanding space collaboration.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation and its French counterpart CNES (National Centre for Space Studies) agreed to work together in the next Mars mission, as well as a satellite launch and a thermal infrared observation mission.
French soldiers take part in Republic Day parade
- French Army soldiers created history by marching down the Rajpath during the Republic Day parade, becoming the first foreign military contingent to take part in the celebrations.
- Led by Lt Col Paul Bury of the French Army’s 35th Infantry Regiment, one of the oldest regiments of France, the 76-member contingent marched before an audience that included President Pranab Mukherjee, visiting French President and Chief Guest Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- Forty-eight members of ‘The Music of the Infantry’, a ceremonial band based in Lyon in France, played two military tunes at the parade as the spectators cheered them.
- The French Army’s 35th Infantry Regiment traces its origin back to 1604 when it was raised in Lorraine in France.
- The regiment has as many as 12 battle honours to its credit. It has varied combat experiences, having served in Algeria, Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan among other places
- Under the ‘Make in India’ banner, India and France signed a deal that will allow French industrial major Alstom to make 800 high horse power locomotives in India. The locomotives are expected to be made in the electric locomotives factory in Madhepura, Bihar.
- Both sides also signed an agreement on upgrading the Delhi-Chandigarh line to 200 kmph, in keeping with France’s special focus on Chandigarh ‘Smart City’ project
- In the joint statement, France also committed itself to supporting India’s bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and India’s accession to the multilateral (nuclear) export control regimes in 2016 itself.
- The broad spectrum covered by the range of agreements marked continuity in bilateral ties. Agreements on nuclear issue, counterterror, defence show a positive continuum of the past work.
- But the visit obviously highlights the fact that France remains an important interlocutor for India, in the European Union, as India’s position on sensitive issues have often been supported by France even when it faced opposition from other European powers
- France has been liberal with technology transfer and its support is crucial for India
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