Increased scope for symbiotic relations between France and India
About Us | Contact Us | E-Paper
Title :    Text :    Source : 

Increased scope for symbiotic relations between France and India

While Indo-French ties would strengthen, a particular attribute in Macron-ruled France could be instructive for India

Post by on Thursday, June 16, 2022

First slide

France has been navigated to political stability, countering a whirlwind constituting of divisiveness, xenophobia, extreme nationalism, and narrow-minded approach. The determinant of that stability was a comfortable, contiguous victory of President Emmanuel Macron of “La Republique en Marche” (LREM) party in the recent Presidential elections. His principal political adversary, Marine Le Pen, of the “National Front” got defeated. Macron won an impressive near 59 percent of the vote, while Le Pen accrued 41 percent of vote share. Other political participants, such as Valerie Pecresse from the centre-right Republicans and Socialist party candidate Anne Hidalgo, have currently become quite insignificant, politically. But, Le Pen still received an impressive vote share. She is endeavouring to spawn dilemmas for Macron in the days ahead. The parliamentary election, scheduled this month, gives her an avenue to try increasing her political heft to the disadvantage of Macron.                                  

Even then, the French electorate indicated preference for stability and effective moderation, propagated by Macron than the emotional outbursts, accusations and mockery, epitomized by Le Pen. Internally, French society has displayed, at large, that steady, calibrated progress in step with evolving socio-economic dynamics is preferred to raucous disruption. Furthermore, Macron’s ready admittance of some missteps made by him and brainstorming to listen and put in motion a rectification plan widened his orb of acceptability. He convincingly put forth to the French people that there isn’t and cannot be any utopia. Nevertheless, his dispensation would strive earnestly to bring various sectors of society in compatibility to significantly constrict the scope for social dissatisfaction and economic unfairness. His streak of realism found more acceptability and carried the day. Fulminations made in a bout of choleric predisposition by his principal opponent were overlooked. Moreover, promoting a strong harmony between robust free market policies and effective welfare measures, for the present and future, added significantly to Macron’s political acceptability.      

Macron led his own grassroots movement in 2017 to rail against what he saw as a decaying French political system, where economic prospects were strangled. It was successful. In May, 2017, Macron won the presidency. Eager to present himself as a reformer, he threw himself into dismantling apparently worn-out economic policies: his regime scrapped a wealth tax levied on France’s richest residents, trimmed the country’s labyrinthine labour regulations, and made it less costly for companies to hire and fire employees. Alongside, he pursued an active diplomacy. Projecting himself as a global leader, Macron contributed in efforts for a solution into every international crisis, and quietly worked to shape the agenda on pivotal issues like the environment, defense, trade, and data privacy. An influential internationally-renowned publication called him the “next leader of Europe” with a caveat: “if only he can lead France”.     

From the principal driving seat of France, Macron has led the country, avoiding panic and outward apprehension, even when the going has been rough and tempestuous. His economic reforms brought about some consequent shocks. Several companies closed down, retrenchment took place in sundry factories, and low-skilled workers found making ends meet hazardous. The trade-off between initial pains preceding potential promised-about gains made its sting unacceptable to a notable segment of society. The near-tipping point came when Macron announced an increase in fuel tax in November, 2018. Thousands snapped in anger, germinating the yeasty “Yellow Vests” movement. It sparked violence. Protestors battled police, smashed stores, and burned barricades. Macron realized it was time to embark on a rectification programme.     

In it, government embarked on a spending to the count of $1.1 billion. The emphasis was on creating jobs, education, free meals in schools located in economically backward areas, skills training, and stemming of unemployment. That led to a surge in economic activity and decreasing unemployment. Trade unions have been mostly brought under control through realistic promises and effective policies aimed at increasing the scope for organized job creation.  

The French economy has targeted the real value of total output of goods and services to equal the sum of real consumption, real realized investment, real government spending, and real exports, collectively known as “Product Identity” measurement. That has repeatedly reflected a deficit. Nonetheless, the government’s approach is sensible. Its objective is healthy economic stability; it is endeavouring to raise the concerned level of economic equilibrium upward or to a product identity surplus.          

A pressing foreign policy objective of Macron’s dispensation is to increase the scope of dialogues with democracies outside the so-called advanced, industrial West. That would add heft to the objective of strengthening a rules-based international order and presiding over peace and stability in the unrest-prone Asia-Pacific region.

To that purpose, Macron, like his predecessors, continues to engage and amplifies France’s relationship with India. The scope for cooperation and collaboration between France and India comprise sectors such as defense, security, electronics, IT, locomotives, pharmaceuticals, and space research. Regarding the Ukraine war, Macron is receptive to the Indian viewpoint where calling for cessation of clash of arms between Ukraine and Russia is a pressing imperative; but, arbitrarily imposing sanctions on Russia, thereby adversely affecting international transactions of crude oil, sunflower oil and other agricultural products from that region reflects insensitivity. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warmly complimented Macron on his second consecutive win. Subsequently, both leaders held fruitful dialogues in Paris, in May.            

While Indo-French ties would strengthen, a particular attribute in Macron-ruled France could be instructive for India. In France, parliamentary politics has become more consensual; there are scarcely whiffs of acrimony in the French parliament. Notably, it is encouraging to discern Bruno Le Maire, France’s long-serving Finance Minister and a former French Presidential candidate for the Republicans, working closely with Olivier Dussopt, the budget minister who was previously a socialist deputy. Burying petty differences and closing of ranks for the betterment of one’s country have gotten somewhat undermined in contemporary Indian politics. Incorporation of this French trait would be expedient for India. It would enable greater coherence and progress.       


(Author is writer and Columnist. He can be reached on:

Latest Post