PM Narendra Modi, French President Macron raise toast to Paris-Delhi ties

Michele Moreno
March 12, 2018

On Sunday, Macron will attend a solar power summit created to showcase India and France's commitment to fighting climate change, which both leaders have made a priority. A senior military officer said the agreement with France "does not suffer from the political sensitivities the way our agreement with the U.S. does".

The two nations signed a key security accord for the Indian Ocean to counter China's growing influence in the region.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is on a four-day state visit, will visit Varanasi on Monday where he will be received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Western diplomats will point out that the USA alliance with France and its Major Defence Partnership with India are far deeper, while Russian diplomats will point to their older military ties with India and logistical agreements that date back much further.

Modi spoke about "the spiritual partnership of our countries and civilisations that are centuries old".

The highlight of the visit for as yet has been the purchase of 36 Rafale jets over and above the planned 36, that President Macron called the "heart of India-France strategic partnership".

Despite the bonhomie, one spoiler in the ties could come from China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which India has strongly opposed.

Later, while congratulating India for getting membership of the missile export control regimes, Macron committed France's support to building consensus among regimes' members on the issue of India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

On his part, Macron, who arrived here on Friday on his maiden visit to India, said defence cooperation between the two countries now has a "new significance".

India commended France's efforts in the global fight against climate change and the two countries stood together in this endeavour, Kovind said.

The ISA, an alliance of more than 121 countries, was initiated by Prime Minister Modi in January 2016. The Indian Ocean, like the Pacific Ocean, can not become a place of hegemony, " Macron said.

Apart from security, the two leaders also pledged to start work at Jaitapur site by the end of the year to build world's largest nuclear power plant, with a total capacity of 9.6 Gigawatts. Following the talks, the two sides also released joint strategic vision for IOR which mentioned joint Navy exercises and maritime surveillance as an important aspect of their growing strategic partnership. The government has been hush-hush over the Rafale deal and has kept mum on the doubling of the initial order.

The agreement on nuclear cooperation prescribes a way forward for the implementation of the Jaitapur nuclear power project which has been hanging fire for nearly a decade now.

Other reports by Insurance News

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