French President Emmanuel Macron interacts with students at Bikaner House

Posted March 11, 2018

On Sunday, Modi and Macron will co-chair the founding conference of the India-initiated ISA, which was launched by Modi and then French President Francois Hollande during the Paris Climate Summit in 2015.

The comments from Indian and French leaders followed a slew of agreements signed by the two countries in the spheres of defence, space and clean energy on Saturday.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in India on a four-day visit, said today that New Delhi is a strategic partner of France in South Asia and "we want to be your (partner) in Europe".

After a 90-minute long meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron and delegation-level talks between the two sides, 14 agreements have been signed between two countries.

Macron said India and France have made a decision to work together to deal with threats of terrorism and radicalisation. The agreement "seeks to extend logistical support on reciprocal access to respective facilities for Indian and French armed forces", said the Joint Statement. Detailed discussions on specific projects including on the Scorpene submarine programme for the Indian Navy was also discussed during the Sitharaman-Parly talks.

To help ensure freedom of navigation, the space agencies of the two countries signed an accord to help them detect, identify and monitor sea vessels.

In an apparent reference to China, Macron said, "the Indian Ocean, like the Pacific Ocean, can not become a place of hegemony".

"Trade war between the countries is impacting the economies of India and France", he said. Modi said that the two countries are bound from the Liberty, Equality, Fraternity Constitution of India, not only in France. From Reunion Island to the naval base Héron in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, France has key naval bases. "This gives France significant sovereign, demographic and economic interests to defend militarily in the region".

What we need is a change in mindset, facilitate entrepreneurship, increase risk takers' numbers. Negotiations over the construction of next-generation nuclear reactors in India have been dragging on for years. Earlier on Saturday morning, Macron and his wife Brigitte arrived at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and the French President inspected the guard of honour. "These two agreements will prepare the framework of close relations among our people and our youth", Prime Minister Modi explained.

He finally concluded by saying that for the sake of Earth's future, India and France were committed to the success of the International Solar Conference (ISA).

India says that access to solar technology is becoming a reality, with costs coming down and grid connectivity improving.

Prime Minister Modi also welcomed France to invest in India under the "Make in India" initiative.