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India, France Ink 14 Pacts To Boost Security, Nuclear Energy

India, France Ink 14 Pacts To Boost Security, Nuclear Energy

"Defence co-operation between the two countries now has a new significance", Mr Macron in New Delhi as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood by his side.

The main purposes of his India tour are to initiate a new era of Indo-French relations in defence and security, higher education, science and research along with co-chairing a conference with PM Modi on International Solar Alliance and address the Indian youth.

India and France pledged Saturday to work together to ensure freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean and signed an agreement to expedite construction of a major nuclear power plant in India by a French company.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met his counterparts from the Pacific island nations of Tuvalu and Vanuatu, Enele Sopoaga and Charlot Salwai, respectively, and discussed issues of bilateral interest.

Prime Minister Modi emphasised that India and France were not the only leaders of two strong independent countries and two diverse democracies, but the successors of rich and capable heritage. "It is the entry point for France in the region, and my aim is to make France the entry point for India to Europe", Macron said outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

India had signed a government-to-government deal with France in 2016 to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of about the Rs 58,000-crore. He was given a ceremonial welcome on Saturday morning. "I want most of the researchers to come to France and I am happy to be here today", he said.

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The agreement seeks to facilitate the reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services between the armed forces of the two countries during authorised port visits, joint exercises, joint training, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts among others. Macron will also visit Agra, and have a town hall interaction with students in New Delhi.

The Indian community, including NRIs in mainland France number around 1.1 lakh people; largely originating from French enclaves of Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe and Chandernagore.

Modi and Macron also agreed that India and the European Union should deepen their cooperation on multilateral and security issues, as well as on economic, trade and climate change issues, the statement said.

France and India also agreed to exchange information and technical experts in the fields of environment and climate change.

The visiting leader will also meet President Ram Nath Kovind and Minister of External Affairs (MEA) Sushma Swaraj will call on him. "Tomorrow, we are co-hosting the International Solar Alliance and the presence of the French President at the founding conference will take our climate partnership to newer heights". India and France have pledged to achieve reduction in emissions as committed in Paris.


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