New Delhi: India and France have agreed to set up a “bilateral strategic dialogue on space issues” and to find “creative ways for France’s deeper involvement in the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign”, a joint statement issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s engagement with French President Emanuel Macron said. “Building on a great tradition of over 60 years of technical and scientific space cooperation, and in order to address the contemporary challenges that have arisen in space, in particular maintaining a secure access to space for all, India and France have agreed on setting up a bilateral strategic dialogue on space issues,” the joint statement said. The setting up of the bilateral strategic dialogue on space issues, will bring together experts from space and defence agencies, administration and specialised ecosystem to discuss security and economic challenges in outer space, the norms and principles applicable to space as well as unveil new areas of cooperation, the joint statement added. The two sides also agreed to hold the first dialogue this year at the earliest. Both also agreed to find creative ways for France’s deeper involvement in the Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) efforts in advanced defence technology, manufacturing and exports, including through encouraging increased “industry to industry partnerships”. The six Scorpene submarines built at MDL in Mumbai illustrates the level of transfer of technology from France to India, in line with the Make in India initiative, the statement said lauding the ongoing long-standing armament cooperation between the two countries. The two sides welcomed the ongoing intense cooperation across all defence domains, the joint statement said adding that “Joint exercises (Shakti, Varuna, Pegase, Desert Knight, Garuda) illustrate efforts towards better integration and interoperability wherever possible.” It further said that maritime cooperation between India and France has reached new levels of trust and will continue through exercises, exchanges and joint endeavours throughout the Indian Ocean. Regarding the cooperation between the cyber security agencies of the two countries, the joint statement stated that the two sides agreed to “join forces in promoting cyber norms and principles in order to counter cyber threats and agreed to upgrade their bilateral cyber dialogue with a view to contributing to a peaceful, secure and open cyberspace.” On counter-terrorism cooperation, which according to the joint statement, is a corner stone of the Indo-French strategic partnership particularly in the Indo-Pacific Region, both nations strongly condemned all forms of terrorism, including use of terrorist proxies and cross-border terrorism. They reiterated their resolve to closely work together in the common fight against global terrorism, including through combating the financing of terrorism, countering radicalization and violent extremism, preventing misuse of the internet for terrorist or violent extremist purpose, acting against internationally designated entities and individuals, the joint statement said. Both sides expressed their willingness to coordinate actively in the run up to the third edition of the “No Money for Terror” international Conference to be hosted by India this year.