Published: Sun, March 11, 2018

India, France sign deals worth $16 billion, key focus on energy

India, France sign deals worth $16 billion, key focus on energy

After talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also highlighted a solar alliance and cooperation between the two countries in defense, security, technology, space and counterterrorism. "We welcome the commitment of France for Make in India in the defence sector", Modi said post his hour-long meeting with Macron at the capital's Hyderabad House.

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. There are many war drills conducted between the armies of our two nations. France also supports India's entry in the Indian Ocean Commission (lOC) as an Observer, and encourages its growing involvement in European Union projects for the Indian Ocean, the statement said.

"Our defence cooperation is very strong and we consider France among the most trusted defence partners", Modi said at a joint media event with Macron.

He finally concluded by saying that for the sake of Earth's future, India and France were committed to the success of the International Solar Conference (ISA). "Welcome to India, President @EmmanuelMacron!"

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

The visiting leader also met President Ram Nath Kovind and Minister of External Affairs (MEA) Sushma Swaraj.

On Sunday, Modi and Macron will co-chair the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed President Macron by receiving him at the airport and greeted him with a hug.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that Modi and Sopoaga "exchanged views on strengthening cooperation in renewable energy, developmental assistance, blue economy and global forums".

The pacts included reciprocal logistic support between the armed forces of the two countries and another on protection of classified or protected information, an agreement that comes in the backdrop of the Indian government refusing to divulge details of the multi-billion dollar Indo-French Rafale fighter jet deal.

Macron, who is on his four-day India visit, arrived in New Delhi on Friday evening.

The last visit of a French President to India was in January 2016, when President Francois Hollande was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. "These two agreements will prepare the framework of close relations among our people and our youth", Prime Minister Modi explained.

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