India and France sign 14 agreements as President Macron eyes strategic partnership

India and France sign 14 agreements as President Macron eyes strategic partnership

India and France sign 14 agreements as President Macron eyes strategic partnership

French President Emmanuel Macron, in India on a four-day visit, said today that New Delhi is a strategic partner of France in South Asia and "we want to be your (partner) in Europe".

He also pointed out the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the field of defense, security, space, and high technology. "PM Narendra Modi welcomes President of France Emmanuel Macron at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi ahead of the bilateral talks", MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted along with pictures of the two leaders.

The President said that India's strategic ties with France have been expanding not just in traditional sectors of defence, space and civil nuclear energy but also in the emerging areas of counter-terrorism and maritime and cyber-security.

He also hailed France's commitment to making defence and security equipment in India and contributing to Modi's flagship "Make in India" plan to boost local manufacturing.

"We consider France one of our most reliable defence allies", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. Referring to maritime security cooperation, Modi and Macron reiterated that it will be crucial in order to maintain the safety of worldwide sea lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron held wide-ranging deliberations during which they also chose to create an annual defence dialogue at the ministerial level to explore ways to further deepen defence and strategic ties.

Sources said there was a communication from the French government recently indicating its eagerness in making an announcement by the two sides favouring additional procurement of Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force. Highlighting the need for a strategic partnership between the two countries, Macron said it was time for the two great democracies of the world to work even closer. "France, a State of the Indian Ocean rim, is an important player in this region", the document said, explaining the two countries' mutual interest in the region. "I look forward to our talks tomorrow".

Macron's office did not provide a breakdown of the value or details of the business contracts.

The two countries also agreed to jointly work on inter-planetary missions.

Sopoaga and Salwai arrived in Delhi earlier in the day to take part in the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). "India has been France's first ally in the region".

Earlier in the day, Mr Macron talked about his personal rapport with Mr Modi, which was established after their meeting in Paris previous year.

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