Macron-Modi love on show as France courts India


Macron, who arrived in New Delhi on Friday on a four-day visit to India during the course of which he will co-chair the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said he has three purposes for this visit.

"In order to widen and deepen strategic naval cooperation, India and France will be open to inviting strategic partner countries in the region to participate in Indo-French exercises", the vision document said. "We want our (India and France) youth to know each other's countries, understand and work so that thousands of ambassadors are ready for our relations and in this direction we have signed two agreements today", he said.

Seeking cooperation by India over the military activities of both the countries, he said, "France wishes to get India's cooperation in the functioning of their military agencies and ensure a collective effort in monitoring the activities in space".

India and France will also develop a wider dialogue on space situational awareness.

Macron's visit comes after a somewhat misstep-laden visit to India by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Macron, who arrived in India last night on a four-day visit, further said India and France have made a decision to work together to deal with threats of terrorism and radicalisation. Referring to maritime security cooperation, Modi and Macron reiterated that it will be crucial in order to maintain the safety of worldwide sea lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications.

"Defence co-operation between the two countries now has a new significance", Mr Macron in New Delhi as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood by his side.

All of this has alarmed India, which sits at the heart of the Indian Ocean region.

"It is absolutely critical because our two democracies have common challenges regarding terrorism, a lot of common risks, a lot of threats", Macron said.

The Congress has been demanding details of the deal, alleging that the deal negotiated under its rule was much cheaper than the contract signed by the Modi government.

However, while Modi sought greater French investment in the country's defence sector, India has not agreed to buy additional Rafale fighter jets for the Indian Air Force manufactured by French aerospace giant Dassault Aviation, sources told BusinessLine. Later in the day, the two leaders issued a joint statement.

"Welcome to India, President Emmanuel Macron!".

He finally concluded by saying that for the sake of Earth's future, India and France were committed to the success of the International Solar Conference (ISA).