Want our youth to recognise Indo-French ties: PM Modi

The US$9.3 billion (S$12.2 billion) deal for six reactors was signed during a visit to India in 2010 by then French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

French President Macron and Prime Minister Modi will also visit Varanasi, where a group of local youths and some French nationals have formed a club to work towards improving man-to-man contact between the people of the two countries. Besides maritime security and counter-terrorism, business and trade initiatives will also be high on the French president's agenda during the visit.

Macron said, "We would discuss bringing certain changes in the education policy of the country to ensure that the degrees obtained by the Indian students in France are recognised in India and outside". "We consider France one of our most reliable defence allies".

India had signed a government-to-government deal with France in 2016 to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of about the Rs 58,000-crore. "We want to be India's best partner in Europe", Macron said after a ceremonial reception at New Delhi's presidential house.

Macron said, "Stability in the Indian Ocean is very important for the stability of the entire region, and we are with India for freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific".

Macron also paid homage to the tens of thousands of Indians who died in World War I, and said India is being invited to a major ceremony being planned in Paris for November 11, the 100th anniversary of the war's end. They will also visit Mirzapur to inaugurate a 100 MW solar power plant.

Mr Modi said the accord was crucial as the Indian Ocean region would play a "very significant role" in future.

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The joint strategic vision for Indian Ocean calls for France and India committing "to utilizing every opportunity of their naval ships calling at each other's ports for holding passage exercises".

For perhaps the first time in India's rich space-faring history, human space flight finds mention in any bilateral joint statement.

President Macron also visited the library of the Alliance francaise in New Delhi on Saturday morning.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that Modi and Sopoaga "exchanged views on strengthening cooperation in renewable energy, developmental assistance, blue economy and global forums". Referring to maritime security cooperation, Modi and Macron reiterated that it will be crucial in order to maintain the safety of global sea lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications.

Modi and President Macron will co-chair the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), on Sunday.

"Welcome to India, President Emmanuel Macron!".

  • Adam Floyd