France Focuses On Digital Economy, AI, Space To Boost Ties With India

In the field of digital economy, France and India are on the same page in supporting the “full sovereignty of data” and ensuring that data protection and sovereignty are guaranteed to their citizens, they said.

France has identified cyber security and digital economy, artificial intelligence, outer space and global ocean governance as key pillars for strengthening its relations with India, people familiar with developments have said.

The two countries have widespread convergence in these areas and this provides the foundation for further boosting cooperation, including working together on these issues bilaterally and at multilateral forums, the people said.

In the field of digital economy, France and India are on the same page in supporting the “full sovereignty of data” and ensuring that data protection and sovereignty is guaranteed to their citizens, they said. They also have a shared vision for artificial intelligence and could work on norms for security in the digital world, they added.

The two sides are already cooperating in cyber security by working together on matters such as the regulation of the internet and the “Christchurch Call”, an initiative launched by France and New Zealand on May 15 to prevent the use of social media to organise and promote acts of terror. The initiative was an outcome of the March 15 attacks on two mosques in Christchurch in which 50 people were killed.

India’s recent anti-satellite weapons test and creation of a defence space research agency showed it is aware of the challenges posed by the development of defensive and offensive technologies for space by more countries, and the people said France and India can cooperate in this area as they have shared values on the strategic autonomy of outer space and the peaceful uses of space.

Cooperation in maritime security and global ocean governance too can be underpinned by a shared desire to ensure freedom of navigation and a rules-based order, to tackle the impact of global warming on the oceans and to prevent the depletion of fish stocks. France also has other compelling reasons for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, such as the world’s second largest exclusive economic zone and the presence of two million French citizens in this region, the people said.

In the field of defence, Paris had been cooperating in the production of hardware long before New Delhi launched its “Make in India” initiative, including the production of more than 1,000 helicopter engines and thousands of missiles. Further cooperation in joint production and transfer of technology requires predictability, the people said, noting that in the case of platforms such as the Rafale jet, there will be a preference for offsets if only two or three dozen aircraft are procured by India, while thought could be given to moving the production line to India if up to 200 aircraft are acquired.

The people also pointed out that French military hardware didn’t come with conditions attached and could be used freely by India without need for any permissions.

Source: Hindustan Times

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