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India, France ink 14 key agreements after talks between PM Modi, President Macron

Addressing a joint press conference after the talks with President Macron, PM Modi said the two countries have robust cooperation in the fields of defence and security.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2018 14:53 IST
India-France ties,France,Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a signing of agreements ceremony at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, March 10, 2018. (Reuters)

India and France on Saturday inked 14 key agreements in the strategic areas of security, nuclear energy, and protection of classified information, as companies from the two countries signed contracts worth €13 billion ($16 billion).

The agreements, including those in the field of education, environment, urban development and railways, were signed after extensive bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in New Delhi on Saturday.

Addressing a joint press conference after the talks with President Macron, PM Modi said the two countries have robust cooperation in the fields of defence and security.

“Our strategic partnership may be just 20 years old, but our cultural and spiritual partership is even older. The values of liberty, equality and fraternity echo not just in France but have been embedded in India’s Constitution as well,” the Prime Minister said.

For his part, Macron said India and France have decided to work together to deal with threats of terrorism and radicalisation.

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

“We want India as our first strategic partner here, and we want to be India’s first strategic partner in Europe, and even the western world,” the French president said.

Both the leaders also talked about cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

The deals signed by companies from the two countries include a contract for France’s Safran to supply airline SpiceJet with engines, water system modernisation by Suez in the southern city of Davangere and a contract between industrial gas company Air Liquide and Sterlite, the French presidency said in a statement.

Macron’s office did not provide a breakdown of the contracts’ values or details about the deals. It said some €200 million of investments will be made in India.

A so-called “Industrial Way Forward Agreement” was signed between French utility EDF and India’s NPCIL for the construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur. Negotiations over the construction of next-generation nuclear reactors in India have been dragging on for years.

It was not immediately clear whether these were firm contracts or letters of intent.

Macron, who arrived in India on Friday night, was given a ceremonial welcome this morning.

“Another chapter in the glorious book of our friendship! PM Narendra Modi welcomes President of France Emmanuel Macron at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi ahead of the bilateral talks,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted along with pictures of the two leaders.

Macron is in India on a four-day visit. He was received at the airport on Friday night by Prime Minister Modi, in a special gesture.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday called on Macron and discussed ways to further enhance the India-France Strategic Partnership that was forged in 1998.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 13:17 IST