New Delhi: India and France will enhance scientific cooperation in marine science and technology and also exchanges of students and researchers with aims to monitor, protect and sustainably use marine living and non-living resources and the biodervisity of the seas and ocean.
The two countries have agreed on a roadmap on blue economy and ocean governance. India and France intend to tap the blue economy while respecting the environmental, coastal and marine biodiversity, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
The agreement between India and France was inked during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s three-day visit to France.
Both countries aim to contribute to scientific knowledge and ocean conservation, while also ensuring that the ocean remains a global common, a space of freedom and trade, based on the rule of law, added the MEA in its statement.
The areas of strengthened cooperation will include- physical and spatial oceanography, environmental impact studies, combatting marine pollution, knowledge and conservation of biodiversity and marine ecosystem and services, genetic biodiversity mapping, generating a germplasm inventory, ecosystem-based approaches, monitoring of fish stocks, fishing techniques, stock enhancement, ocean observation, marine meteorology, deep-sea exploration technology, oceanarium technology or shallow underwater laboratory, in-situ observations of marine organisms and marine energy.
In addition, the MEA said that studying the cumulative impacts of multiple stressors on the marine environment, including ocean acidification, pollution and extreme weather events, coastal risks and resilience can also add to the scientific cooperation between India and France in the domain of Blue Economy and Ocean Governance.
Collaboration between operational ocean forecasting centres in India (eg. INCOIS) and France (e.g IFREMER) is envisaged for ocean observations, ocean modelling and forecasting and related capacity building.
The MEA further stated that India and France will remain fully committed to the knowledge summit, organised periodically by the two countries, to foster bilateral scientific cooperation. The scientific department of the Embassy of France in India and the Ministry of Earth Sciences of India will be points of contact to lay the groundwork for a workshop dedicated to marine science during the knowledge summit.
France has also expressed its interest to send an expert group of scientists to India to meet the main oceanography institutes of India, including the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), as well as the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management.
IFREMER, the French national institute for ocean science and technology and India’s Ministry of Earth Science have initiated contacts in order to deepen the cooperation potential, including as part of the Deep Ocean Mission.
The MEA also said that India and France have satisfactorily noted the launch of the university and scientific cooperation programme GOAT (Goa Atlantic cooperation in Marine Science and Technology), which was signed in Brest on January 20, 2020, between the French actors of “Campus mondial de la mer” and the Indian Institute of Technology, Goa.
The two countries will support the implementation of GOAT and facilitate the issuance of visas for the students and researchers involved to encourage student mobility in the blue economy sector and in marine science and technology. They have also called for the development of partnerships between higher education institutions.
In order to encourage scientific partnerships in marine sciences, the Embassy of France in India will endeavour, from 2022 onwards, to grant five student mobility scholarships in this field. India will facilitate administrative aspects for the implementation of such partnerships.
India and France will seek private funding to establish a research and development centre to support joint projects and will endeavour to spur and support projects on the blue economy and knowledge about the ocean under the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (CEFIPRA/IFCPAR).
Jaishankar on Sunday began his visit to France. He will attend the EU Ministerial Forum for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, amid China’s assertiveness in the region, on February 22, an initiative of the French Presidency of the European Council.