UAE, France, India policy convergence - GulfToday

UAE, France, India policy convergence


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The joint statement issued after United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, French foreign minister Catherine Colonna and India External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Saturday declaring that the three countries would design and implement projects jointly in the fields of solar and nuclear energy, climate change and protection of biodiversity, especially in the Indian Ocean region is an innovative and fruitful initiative. While UAE-India, UAE-France relations have been close over the years, it is creating the extra connection between the three that marks out new ways of diplomatic engagement that spans many sectors. While everyone recognizes the importance of international cooperation, especially with regard to climate change, it is not sufficiently recognized that smaller like-minded international formations like UAE-France-India would be necessary to push forward in an effective and efficient way.

The three countries bring to the table their respective strengths. The three countries have a huge strategic interest in the Indian Ocean region, with France and India looking at the far ends of the Indian Ocean and the UAE occupying the geographically middle. France and India have been exploring cooperation in nuclear power for many years now, and the UAE had turned to the nuclear power keeping in mind the need to gradually turn away from fossil fuels. The three countries are indeed preparing for the future. It is not possible any more for any one country to pursue its economic interests on its own. It is much more effective to do it in cooperation with others. Also, the three countries have also chosen to work together on solar power, which remains an alternative clean source of energy. But the technology needed to make it an efficient source for large scale use poses challenges, which can be better tackled by pooling intellectual and technological, apart from economic, resources. France has been using nuclear power for electricity for decades now and it has shown that it is a viable option both in terms of economy and safety. While India has had experience with running civilian nuclear reactors, it has not been as widespread as in France. It should then be possible for the three countries to make nuclear power a more effective means of meeting the energy needs of the future. Biodiversity is a crucial element in the maintenance of ecosystems, and the three countries are well placed to implement policies on this count which would help in fighting the challenge of climate change. Preservation of habitat in terms of plan and animal diversity remains a much neglected aspect of policy in evolving strategies to deal with climate change. What UAE, France and India can achieve on this front will serve as a model for many other countries.

The joint statement has also talked about defence cooperation between the three countries, including compatibility, co-production, training and cooperation of the defence forces of all the three. It underlines the fact that at a time of global uncertainties on the political and security fronts, it would be necessary for countries to join hands to ensure peace in the region. Security in the 21st century becomes a multi-national task, which requires cooperation and forging of common obligations.

The world needs a new network of alliances for facing the challenges of the day, and the UAE-France-India trilateral relationship spanning issues of environment, defence, culture should show the way that countries can come together, and pool their intellectual, cultural and economic resources to forge policies and implement them for the common good. International cooperation is not only an ideal goal but also a practical necessity. And there is need for a viable formation of a group comprising the UAE, France and India, with their complementary competencies.

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