'France and India have always stood by each other': French ambassador to India

Thierry Mathou said France sees India as a major, responsible power

Thierry MATHOU, Directeur de la direction d'Asie et d'Océanie Thierry Mathou

Interview/ Thierry Mathou, French ambassador to India

How do you look at President Macron’s visit to India?

It is a historic visit that demonstrates the special character and deep mutual trust of India-France friendship. It comes a few months after Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Paris as guest of honour of France’s national day and will mark the sixth participation of France as guest of honour on India’s Republic Day―the highest for any nation. President Macron’s visit will also seal the ambitious renewal of the India-France strategic partnership that the two leaders decided on July 14 in Paris and give further impetus to our common goals under the three pillars of the Horizon 2047 Roadmap―partnership for security and sovereignty, partnership for the planet and partnership for the people.

India considers France a dependable friend. How does France view India?

France and India have always stood by each other, in good times and bad. This unwavering solidarity, combined with our common quest for strategic autonomy in a multipolar world, is what makes the time-tested relationship so unique. France sees India as a major, responsible power that has a key role to play in bridging divides and advancing solutions to global challenges. That is also why France has always supported a permanent seat for India at the UN Security Council.

Do you think there could be more areas of military convergence?

Defence cooperation is a long-standing pillar of our strategic partnership. France is committed to being India’s top partner in developing its strategic autonomy and working together on the technologies and capabilities of the future. The operational cooperation between our armed forces is also outstanding, with regular joint army, navy and air exercises that raise our level of interoperability and demonstrate our capacity to act together as net security providers in the Indo-Pacific.