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India-France N-declaration coming

An agreement on defence coop will also be signed during the upcoming visit of the French President on Feb 19-20.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 01:26 IST

India and France will sign a 'declaration' on development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

An agreement on defence cooperation will also be signed during the upcoming visit of French President Jacques Chirac on February 19-20, taking their strategic partnership forward.

The two countries will also sign several agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) including on tourism cooperation.

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said at a press briefing that ANTRIX (commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation--ISRO) will sign a contract with EADS Astrium to jointly build a satellite for Eutelsat.

MoUs on cooperation between IIM Ahmedabad and ESSEC of France and between Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and AEDEME of France are also expected to be signed.

The French President, who will be accompanied by Ministers for Foreign, Defence and Finance and Industry, and Ministers of State for Tourism and Foreign Trade, and a 30-member business delegation, will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on February 20 on intensifying bilateral cooperation in various areas including political, economic, defence, space and civilian nuclear energy.

President Chirac's visit is a ''reflection of the commitment by India and France to vigorously pursue their strategic partnership,'' Mr Sarna said.

Asked whether the issue of Mittal Steel takeover bid of 'Arcelor' would be discussed during the visit, Mr Sarna declined comment, saying he was not in a position to say what would be discussed between the two sides.

Prime Minister Singh had visited France in September last year while he was on his way to attend the 60th session of the UN General Assembly.

President Chirac had visited India as Prime Minister in 1976 and again as President in January 1998. On both occasions, he was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade.

On February 20, President APJ Abdul Kalam will host a banquet in his honour.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha LK Advani will call on President Chirac who will deliver a key-note address at Vigyan Bhavan on 'India-France Economic partnership.' The two countries initiated a strategic partnership in January 1998 during President Chirac's visit.

The two sides have agreed to make efforts to double bilateral trade in five years from the present 3.5 billion Euros.

Cooperation between the two countries ranges from high-technology areas including nuclear energy, space and defence to chemicals, infrastructure and food processing.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 22:17 IST