French president arrives in India on 4-day state visit

Emmanuel Macron and Narendra Modi-AFP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday received French President Emmanuel Macron for in the national capital.

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.

In fact, French and Indian companies have already signed contracts worth 13 billion euros ($16 billion) on the first day of Macron's visit, the French presidency said in a statement.

Giving a boost to their strategic partnership, India and France on Saturday vowed to strengthen defence and energy ties with each other.

"To harness the opportunities and to meet the challenges together, the two leaders have agreed on an action oriented Joint Strategic Vision for Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region", the statement said.

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The Indo-French nuclear agreement was signed in 2008 and it was made a decision to build a nuclear power plant in Jaitapur, in coastal Maharashtra, some 600 km south of Mumbai.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met his counterparts from the Pacific island nations of Tuvalu and Vanuatu, Enele Sopoaga and Charlot Salwai, respectively, and discussed issues of bilateral interest.

"It is absolutely critical because our two democracies have common challenges regarding terrorism, a lot of common risks, a lot of threats", Macron said.

Macron will be a on a state visit from Mar 9 to 12.

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.

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"The third objective of this visit is to deliver the message that France should be the best partner for India, especially in Europe, the entry point for Europe".

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

Both President Macron and Prime Minister Modi expressed their deep satisfaction with the swift implementation and operationalization of the bilateral White Shipping Agreement signed in January 2017.

It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. "These two agreements will prepare the framework of closest relations between our countrymen, our youth".

Mr Macron, who is in India on a three-day visit, participated in the programme "Town Hall" organised by the French Embassy with the help of Bikaner House Management Committee in the evening.

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