New Delhi, February 21: India and France have agreed on a Roadmap on Blue Economy and Ocean Governance with the aim to contribute to scientific knowledge and ocean conservation and ensure that the ocean remains a global common, based on the rule of law.

This agreement came during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's three-day visit to France.

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The scope of the roadmap will encompass maritime trade, the naval industry, fisheries, marine technology and scientific research, integrated coastal management, marine eco-tourism, inland waterways, and cooperation between competent administrations on civil maritime issues.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement said that both nations plan to organize an annual bilateral dialogue on the blue economy and ocean governance to exchange views on their priorities, share their best practices and support ongoing and future cooperation.

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"India and France intend to make blue economy a driver of progress of their respective societies while respecting the environment and coastal and marine biodiversity," the MEA said in a joint document.

India and France underscored that fisheries are a vital economic sector and play a decisive role in food security and livelihood security, particularly for coastal populations.

They also highlighted that demographic, economic and societal factors have led to an increased global demand for marine products and growing stress on global fish stocks.

According to the statement, India and France will make the blue economy a priority in the development of their economic exchanges.

"They will facilitate contacts between economic actors, business heads organisations, technopoles and maritime clusters of the two countries, cross investments, as well as visa issuance to entrepreneurs active in the blue economy," the MEA said.

Earlier today, Jaishankar held wide-ranging and productive talks in Paris with France Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and both sides discussed cooperation, the Ukraine situation and Indo-Pacific.

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.

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