India and France sign 14 agreements as President Macron eyes strategic partnership

Larry Hoffman
March 11, 2018

French and Indian companies signed contracts worth 13 billion euros ($16 billion) on the first day of President Emmanuel Macron's visit to India on Saturday, the French presidency said in a statement.

Addressing a joint conference with Macron, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the two countries have robust cooperation in the fields of defence and security.

Officials said the French side pitched for procurement of another batch of 36 Rafale jets by India during the talks between French Defence Minister Florence Parly and her Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman. "We welcome the commitment of France for Make in India in the defence sector", Modi said post his hour-long meeting with Macron at the capital's Hyderabad House.

One of the key agreements is a reciprocal logistics support deal between the respective armed forces of India and France. The two leaders also presented a vision for a future where they will explore the Moon, Mars and particularly Venus.

In the morning, the visiting leader will be accorded Ceremonial Reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Besides maritime security and counter-terrorism, business and trade initiatives will also be high on the French president's agenda during the visit.

An agreement between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and EDF, France, was signed to prescribe a way forward for the implementation of the 9900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power project at Madban village of Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra.

"The second objective of this trip is to organise this International Solar Alliance (conference)", he said.

"Your historical partner in Europe was the United Kingdom, and I want France to become the new partner", Macron told Indian media.

In a tweet on Friday, Modi welcomed Macron to India, saying: "Your visit will add great strength to the strategic partnership between India and France".

The Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was also revealed to be co-chaired by President Macron along with Prime Minister Modi.

Till Thursday, 60 countries had signed the framework agreement of the ISA and another 30 submitted the instruments of ratification.

On his India tour, Macron will also visit Agra and Varanasi and have a town hall interaction with students in New Delhi.

The last visit of Macron to India was in January 2016, when he was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

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