India, France vow to strengthen defence, energy ties

"India and France have robust cooperation in fields of defence and security".

India and France today chose to step up cooperation in the space sector by exploring ways to use satellites for maritime surveillance and collaborating on inter-planetary missions.

India and France on Saturday signed a key security accord for the Indian Ocean to counter China's growing influence in the region as visiting French President Emmanuel Macron said defence ties between the two nations had reached a new high.

The nuclear agreement is considered significant, with critics saying that Jaitpur, the site of the six-unit plant, which is to generate 9,900 megawatts of power in western India, is in a seismic zone.

Modi, who spoke before President Macron, said "In defence, we welcome investments in Make in India from France".

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"France and India have shared concerns with regard to the emerging challenges in the Indian Ocean Region that include: "maritime traffic security in the face of the threats of terrorism and piracy, especially in the Horn of Africa; respect of global law by all States" - especially with regard freedom of navigation and overflight", the Joint Strategic Vision said.

The "Industrial Way Forward Agreement" was signed between EDF, France, and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). For France, India is our priority and has always been.

The United States considers India a critical anchor in a regional strategy for the Indian and Pacific Oceans to blunt an increasingly assertive China.

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.

Macron separately said the countries had chose to "do more together" to fight terrorism, and put together a strategy to share intelligence.

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"The second goal of this trip is to organise this International Solar Alliance (conference)", he said.

"France has particularly supported India's perspective on terror in South Asia".

Macron, 40, began his official engagements this morning, when he was given a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi.

Sharing his thoughts on digital world and technology, the French President Macron said, "We're in the middle of revolution on digital era and climate change". Sunday's conference will be attended by 23 of those who have submitted the instruments of ratification and 24 of those who have signed the framework agreement. They will also visit Mirzapur to inaugurate a 100 MW solar power plant. Macron will also visit Agra, and have a town hall interaction with students in New Delhi.

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  • Ryan Wade