France Best Partner For India, Says President Emmanuel Macron, Meets PM Modi: 10 Points
PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron will co-chair the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), tomorrow.
Here is a 10-point guide to Emmanuel Macron’s India visit:
“Our aim is to begin a new era in ties between our two countries. For France, India is our priority and has always been. India has been France’s first ally in the region. It is the entry point for France in the region, and my aim is to make France the entry point for India to Europe,” Mr Macron said outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He later visited the Raj Ghat.
President Macron also met Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj this morning. “They exchanged views on enhancing strategic partnership in trade and investment, defence and security, culture, education and people-to-people ties,” tweeted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
Mr Macron is now holding a bilateral with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that will be followed by delegation-level talks and signing of various deals.
Agreements on civil nuclear cooperation, solar energy and transfer of electric mobility for Indian Railways and metro lines linked to smart city projects — for cities like Pune and Nagpur — are on the cards. Space cooperation is on the agenda as is a larger framework on naval cooperation. Around 40 business leaders are accompanying the French president.
PM Modi received French President Emmanuel Macron last night at the Delhi airport. PM Modi greeted Mr Macron with a hug and shook hands with his wife. “Welcome to India, President @EmmanuelMacron! Your visit will add great strength to the strategic partnership between India and France,” tweeted PM Modi.
PM Modi and President Macron will co-chair the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), tomorrow. The ISA is a flagship Indian initiative launched by PM Modi and the French president on the sidelines of the Paris climate conference in 2015. This meeting will be of great significance against the backdrop of the United States, under President Trump, pulling out of the Paris accord. India and France have pledged to achieve reduction in emissions as committed at Paris.
“The ISA is a unique effort that brings the world together to harness solar energy and create a cleaner as well as greener future, said PM Modi in a tweet. Sources in the French government said Mr Macron’s visit was decided in a way that coincides with the solar summit “as both leaders are very invested in clean and renewal energy.”
On a day Mr Macron arrived in India, the Congress said there was new information to suggest that India was paying far more than countries like Qatar and Egypt for the 36 Rafale jets being acquired by the Indian Air Force. According to the Congress, “India is clearly paying an extra price of R
350.90 crore per aircraft or R
12,632 crore for 36 aircraft.” The BJP hit back, saying the Congress was “misleading the country over a sensitive issue like defence”.
The last visit of a French President to India was in January, 2016, when President Francois Hollande was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. PM Modi had visited France in June last year, immediately after Mr Macron was elected President.
Mr Macron will also pay a visit to PM Modi’s constituency Varanasi. Both leaders will take a boat ride on the Ganga, which will include a private lunch. They will also visit Mirzapur to inaugurate a 100 MW solar power plant. President Macron and his wife will also visit the Taj Mahal.