France and South Asia

Authored by: Gilles Boquérat

Routledge Handbook of the International Relations of South Asia

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032159881
eBook ISBN: 9781003246626
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores the underpinnings of France's relations with India and Pakistan, going back to independence, the colonial hindrance, the Cold War rigidities, and the impetus for a transformative shift. The story evokes the transition from estrangement and even-handedness when contacts were limited with a subcontinent largely considered an Anglo-Saxon preserve to the manifestation of a political will to take interest in the region at the turn of the millennium. At this game, India, an emerging power, perceived as a trusted partner, and Pakistan could not be on an equal footing. The former has been at the receiving end of a strategic partnership that has been deepening over the last two decades and whose main characteristics are discussed. The move is also driven by the fact that France, through its territorial possessions in the Indian Ocean Region, has an interest in maritime security cooperation.

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