Earlier this month, India approved a $1.18 billion deal for the purchase of 500 Mica air-to-air missiles from the French defense firm MBDA. In an email interview, Jean-Luc Racine, a senior CNRS fellow at the Center for South Asia Studies at the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences and the vice president of the Asia Center in Paris, discussed France-India relations.
WPR: What have been the Sarkozy administration's main priorities in advancing France-India ties?
Jean-Luc Racine: Since then-President Jacques Chirac’s visit to India in 1998, France-India ties have improved consistently, and current President Nicolas Sarkozy has clearly toed the line. Paris looks at India as a truly emerging power deserving its due place in the world order. Three priorities have been defined: first, to reassert the value of this political partnership -- Sarkozy has visited India twice during his presidency; second, to improve bilateral trade and investments, with a notable high-tech cooperation content; and third, to enhance the strategic partnership, a field where defense ties and anti-terrorism are prominent.