French President Nicholas Sarkozy on Friday said his visit to India would help further boost the partnership between the two countries.
"I would like to express my delight to be here in India, having been invited as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day," he told reporters after being accorded an impressive ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the capital.
"I have expressed to the president and to the prime minister my warmest thanks for the magnificent welcome that has been extended to us. And to say just how delighted I am to be here to further boost our partnership with the great, great country...The great civilisation that is India," he said.
Welcoming Sarkozy, President Pratibha Patil said, "We heartily welcome the President of France. It is our honour that he is the Chief Guest at the time of the Republic Day of India. He has been a very great friend and I am sure the visit will strengthen our bilateral ties".
She said India would like to ink bilateral MoUs in the fields of science and technology and education with France.
"I propose that we have cultural ties also. France is the home of civilisation and India is also a great civilisation," she added.
The two sides are expected to discuss ways to enhance trade and business ties during Sarkozy's two-day maiden visit in India.