Emmanuel Macron meets PM Modi: $16-bn deals signed

Macron arrives India France work on renewing Rafale clause

Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Marie Claude Macron in Delhi on Friday

Reaffirming their commitment to further Indo-French ties, the two leaders chose to take it to a new level by agreeing to hold biennial summits between the Prime Minister of India and the President of France, a joint statement issued after Modi-Macron talks said.

Underlining that India accorded high priority to its strategic partnership with France, the President said,"Our traditional friendship is firmly rooted in the excellent bilateral understanding and mutual respect that we have".

Noting that defence cooperation between the two countries now has a "new significance", Macron talked about the Scorpene submarine project for the Indian Navy and the fighter jet deal for the Air Force.

"Although our strategic partnership is 20 years old, the spiritual partnership of our countries and our civilizations is centuries long", Prime Minister Modi said.

"They also agreed on the need to establish an open, inclusive and transparent cooperation architecture, with the aim of delivering to all associated with the region, peace, security and prosperity", the statement said.

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"The trust that we share is protecting us as our interests are aligned", said Macron.

"All services of our defence forces regularly hold discussions and conduct joint exercises. We welcome France's commitment to Make in India in the defence sector".

India already has a reciprocal logistical support arrangement with the United States called the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMAO).

"We believe that the most important dimension for the bright future of our bilateral relations is our people-to-people relationship".

"We want our youth to know, see, understand, live, and work in each other's countries so that thousands of ambassadors emerge in the process", he said.

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On Friday night, Macron arrived in New Delhi and Prime Minister Modi received him at the airport in a special gesture.

The French leader is accompanied by his wife Brigitte Marie-Claude Macron.

The two leaders also welcomed the "Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region" as a guiding beacon for partnership between their two countries.

Modi said it was critical for the two countries to cooperate in the Indian Ocean region. The two leaders will co-chair the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Summit on Sunday.

India and France also committed to fully implement the historic Paris climate change Agreement at the forthcoming Conference of Parties (COP24). France also supports India's entry in the Indian Ocean Commission (lOC) as an Observer, and encourages its growing involvement in European Union projects for the Indian Ocean, the statement said. On Friday, Macron inspected a Guard of Honour, visited Raj Ghat and met Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj before holding a bilateral meeting with PM Modi.

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