Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

France, India deepen defence ties with key security deal

France, India deepen defence ties with key security deal

A "Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region" was also agreed upon by both countries in order to maintain the safety of global sea lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications in accordance with the worldwide law, for countering maritime terrorism and piracy, for building maritime domain awareness, for capacity building and for greater coordination in regional/international fora in the region.

President Macron, who arrived in New Delhi late Friday night with wife Brigitte and top French businessmen and officials, was greeted by PM Modi at the airport.

The two countries are to sign an accord to step up military cooperation in the Indian Ocean where regional power China has been flexing its muscles. Detailed discussions on specific projects including on the Scorpene submarine programme for the Indian Navy was also discussed during the Sitharaman-Parly talks.

In a separate tweet regarding the meeting with Salwai, Kumar said: "The two leaders discussed cooperation in capacity building, IT, climate change, solar technology and developmental cooperation".

The visit of President Macron is aimed at strengthening the bilateral economic, political and strategic dimension of our engagement.

Modi, speaking in Hindi as usual, said, "India and France have always had good ties with African nations, which gives us another opportunity to come closer".

Sources in the French presidency told news agency AFP they were optimistic of a final agreement being signed before the end of the year.

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The French president's visit comes just a week after the much-talked-about trip of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to India.

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.

Defence cooperation between the two countries now has a new significance, he said.

Prime Minister Modi also welcomed France to invest in India under the "Make in India" initiative. The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Bilateral trade between the two countries touched $10.95 billion during April 2016 to March 2017, according to India's External Affairs ministry. For France, India is our priority and has always been.

Macron will be a on a state visit from Mar 9 to 12.

Macron also talked about his personal rapport with Modi which was established after their meeting in Paris a year ago.

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