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Updated: November 8, 2009 12:14 IST

France for intelligence cooperation with India to combat terror

PTI
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French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont. File photo:T Singaravelou
The Hindu French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont. File photo:T Singaravelou

According to an estimate, the Indo-French trade relations facilitated business to the tune of $ 6.2 billion during 2005-06.

As terrorism spreads its wings across the globe and threatens stability in Asia, France has favoured a combination of actions to fight the “horrible scourge” and emphasised on close cooperation between its intelligence agencies and their Indian counterparts.

“We all are concerned with international terrorism. We all believe that it is a horrible scourge that nothing can justify. But a fact is that the threats can be addressed only by combination of actions,” French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont told PTI here.

Mr. Bonnafont pointed out that France shares with India a strategic partnership that involves cooperation between the two countries in every field possible.

“Besides, we have a very intense cooperation for the fight against terrorism -- the exchange of intelligence, exchange of manpower and exchange of technologies“.

The French diplomat said combination of actions requires sharing of political knowledge and intelligence to have maximum access to information about preparation of terrorist attacks.

It also calls for sharing the technologies for pre-emptive action and so, the interconnection between services of the two nations is one of the key elements for fighting terror together, he said.

To a question about how close the two countries are in tackling terrorism, Mr. Bonnafont said, “Your Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and our President (Nicholas Sarkozy) have given very strong instructions to their Services to work more closely together and it is on the top priority of our agenda“.

The Ambassador said India and France are very active in political dialogue and defence cooperation as his country believes that India is the force of stability in Asia and the world and “it is important that we coordinate“.

France supports India’s bid for a permanent membership in an expanded United Nations Security Council.

France, the fifth largest economy in the world, wants to double its trade with India by 2012. However, the economic crisis has slowed down the process. “We have set 2012 as the timeframe when the trade should be doubled in comparison with 2006. We are on track, but the economic crisis is not helping.

But we are giving our maximum efforts,” Mr. Bonnafont said.

France estimates that its trade with India will reach 12 billion euros by 2012. According to an estimate, the Indo-French trade relations facilitated business to the tune of $ 6.2 billion during 2005-06.

The European country says that in the field of economic cooperation, it wants to put emphasis on civilian nuclear energy and power generation in particular.

“We have signed a very important agreement last year (nuclear agreement) and we are now in the (process of) implementation of this agreement,” Mr. Bonnafont said.

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