French President Emmanuel Macron says France is the best partner for India

Lawrence Cooper
March 11, 2018

The plans were listed in two agreements signed by ISRO chairman K Sivan and CNES President Jean-Yves LeGall in New Delhi on Saturday. Macron will also take part in a Town Hall and have an interactive session, in which almost 300 students from different institutions are expected to participate.

Following extensive talks between PM Modi and President Macron, India and France signed 14 pacts in the strategic areas of security, nuclear energy and protection of classified information including an agreement on "reciprocal logistical support" by the armed forces of both sides.

"I hope this visit will open a new era for this strategic partnership", Macron added Saturday.

Under the deal, India and France will open their naval bases to each other's warships, a move seen as an attempt to check China's territorial ambitions.

India and France will also develop a wider dialogue on space situational awareness.

Earlier, President Macron arrived at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and inspected a guard of honour.

Macron is scheduled to visit Modi's constituency Varanasi.

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Agreements in the fields of education, environment, urban development and railways were also signed in the presence of the two leaders.

The 40-year-old president, who is travelling with a delegation of French companies that includes EDF (EDF.PA), Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA), Schneider Electric (SCHN.PA) and Suez (SEVI.PA), will also inaugurate a solar plant built by Engie (ENGIE.PA) in Uttar Pradesh.

Trade between India and France in 2016-17 touched $10.95 billion (€8.9 billion), with France listed as the ninth largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative investment of over $6 billion (€4.87 billion) from April 2000 to October 2017, according to Indian government figures.

Macron said, "Stability in the Indian Ocean is very important for the stability of the entire region, and we are with India for freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific".

He met with his Indian counterpart Ram Nath Kovind, his wife Savita Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi respectively. Defence cooperation between the two countries now has a new significance, the French President said.

Prime Minister Modi and President Macron will co-chair the International Solar Conference (ISA) on Sunday.

"There is a bipartisan agreement about bilateral relations between the two countries", Prime Minister Modi stated.

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