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Bonjour: Modi greets Hollande with a hug

67th Republic Day Updated: Jan 25, 2016 14:09 IST
HT Correspondent
French President

French President Francois Hollande is greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Rock Garden of Chandigarh on Tuesday. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted French president Francois Hollande with a hug at the famous tourist spot Rock Garden in Chandigarh on Saturday.

Earlier, Modi arrived at the Chandigarh Air Force station around 2.20 pm and headed straight to the Rock Garden to meet the top French leader, who arrived here with his entourage, including six ministers.

Shortly before the arrival of the French leader, Modi had tweeted, “A warm welcome to French President @fhollande. We are honoured & delighted to have him as the Chief Guest for Republic Day celebrations.”

“President @fhollande & I will meet in Chandigarh & Delhi. We will build on the ground covered during our previous interactions,” the Prime Minister added.

After taking a round of the Rock Garden both leaders proceeded for sightseeing and visit the Capitol Complex and the Government Museum and Art gallery, where Hollande will be shown fossil discovered from the Shivalik Hills by French and Indian archaeologists.

“The two leaders viewed the displays of archaeological findings from the foothills of the Himalayas which suggest human activity possibly dating back to 2.6 million years ago, making them among the oldest known remnants of human existence,” a statement issued by the external affairs ministry in New Delhi stated.

“This significant discovery is the result of seven years of extensive research and collaboration between the Prehistory Department of the National Museum of Natural History of France and the Society of Archaeological and Anthropological Research of Chandigarh undertaken under the auspices of an ‘Agreement of Collaboration between Society for Archaeological & Anthropological Research, India and French National Museum of Natural History’,” it added.

According to the statement, the archaeological discovery comprises about 1500 fossil finds, including 200 quartzite tools collected from several locations spread over 50 acres of area in Masol region near Chandigarh.

Later in the afternoon, Modi and Hollande attended the ‘India-France Business Summit’ with at least 25 corporate honchos from France and India at Hotel Taj. Around 6 pm, the two premiers will fly separately to Delhi, where Hollande will attend the Republic Day parade on January 26 as the chief guest.

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