India, France discuss bilateral ties

India, France discuss bilateral ties

French minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Sunday and discussed with him different aspects of the bilateral relations between New Delhi and Paris.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development spoke to reporters after inaugurating a web platform for the French alumni from India at Alliance Française here.

“I reaffirmed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi the importance of our strategic partnership. We spoke about defence and I shared with him our concerns about terrorism and how we are together in fighting it,” he said.

Noting that India has various needs in the military sector, including fighter aircraft Rafale, submarines and helicopters, Ayrault said he discussed these issues with Modi along with the key issue of civil nuclear energy during his meeting that lasted for 45 minutes. He said civil nuclear energy will contribute to India’s energy needs as Modi has made commitments at the Paris climate summit to reduce greenhouse emissions.

On the economic front, the French minister stressed the need to bring the relationship to the reciprocatory domain. He said there were more than 400 French companies in India employing about 3.5 lakh people.

“We are encouraging Indians to invest in France. We must have the principle of reciprocity. On Tuesday, I am going to Ahmedabad for the Vibrant Gujarat Summit where I will meet Modi again,” he said, indicating that he will press for Indian investment in his country. The minister, who will be in India till January 11, said he will hold several political meetings in New Delhi in the next three days that are not only “bilateral but also about common questions about future”.

After the election of Donald Trump in the United States and discussions about future of Europe post Brexit, we need to discuss several questions about security and peace, he said.

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