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Jacques Chirac arrives in India

India and France are likely to work on a number of pacts including peaceful nuclear energy and defence.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 16:13 IST

French President Jacques Chirac arrived in New Delhi on a three-day visit that is expected to deepen bilateral strategic relations.

A joint declaration on civil nuclear energy cooperation and a defence pact that involves the joint production of military hardware is expected to be signed.

Chirac, who came to New Delhi from Bangkok, was warmly received at the airport by Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma.

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal was also present.

The French president will go to Hotel Taj Mahal where he will stay along with his five senior ministers accompanying him.

Chirac, who is also accompanied by a business delegation comprising 30 CEOs of leading French companies, will interact on Sunday with about 800-strong French community.

An agreement between France's Airbus Industries and the Indian Airlines on the purchase of 43 aircraft would be signed in the evening in Chirac's presence.

Chirac, who last visited India in 1998, will have a private dinner with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during which the two leaders are expected to touch on bilateral and international issues before the two meet for delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House on Monday.

Chirac will focus on enhancing the already substantial business relationship between India and France during his keynote address at the Vigyan Bhavan on India-France Economic Partnership.

First Published: Feb 19, 2006 11:14 IST