India greets French President Macron for four-day trip

Prime Minister Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron will co-chair the International Solar Conference (ISA) on Sunday.

Prime Minister Modi had visited France in June a year ago.

Travelling with his wife Brigitte, the French president will also visit the monument to love, the Taj Mahal, a few hours drive from the Indian capital on Sunday.

"And I dream to have more and more Indian citizens coming to France - studying, becoming entrepreneurs, creating startups - and I want my country to be a best partner in Europe, an entry point", Macron said at a reception ceremony. The joint vision says that "developing technologies for human exploration of the universe, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and French National Space Agency (CNES) would jointly develop capabilities and critical technologies addressing for radiation shielding solutions; personnel hygiene and waste management system; and design of man-in-loop simulators for human space flight as well as bioastronautics".

Reflecting a growing depth in defence ties, India and France today inked a strategic pact providing for the use of each other's military facilities including opening naval bases to warships, an agreement that comes amid China's growing military expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region.

This is the second major maritime agreement India has signed in the last six months following the Quadrilateral agreement with Australia, Japan and the U.S.in October 2017. "Second, both of us believe that in future the Indian Ocean region will play a very important role in the happiness, progress and prosperity of the world".


Presenting the French perspective on maritime and military cooperation, President Emmanuel Macron said, "The Pacific and the Indian Oceans can not become zones for hegemonic power and we are, therefore, building a strategic partnership". They will also visit Mirzapur to inaugurate a 100 MW solar power plant.

Earlier in the day, Macron was given a ceremonial welcome this morning.

In a direct reference to China's aggressive stance in South China Sea, Macron said sea lanes should be free from aggression and any kind of domination over those can not be tolerated.

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

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that Modi and Sopoaga "exchanged views on strengthening cooperation in renewable energy, developmental assistance, blue economy and worldwide forums". This meeting assumes extra significance in the light of the United States under President Trump pulling out of the Paris accord.

US President Donald Trump spoke to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and discussed his decision to impose import tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium. Modi had last visited France in June previous year.


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