French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Delhi on a four-day India visit. He was received at the airport by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a special gesture. Macron was accompanied by his wife Brigitte Marie-Claude Macron, besides senior ministers from his Cabinet.
During Macron’s visit, India and France would look to boost ties, especially in the areas of maritime security and counter-terrorism. An agreement on the Jaitapur nuclear power plant, which is being built with French assistance, is expected to be signed during the visit, people aware of the development said.
Stepping up cooperation in the Indian Ocean region will be one of the top issues that will be discussed by Macron and Modi during delegation-level talks on Saturday.
“France has particularly supported India’s perspective on terror in South Asia. We are seeing convergence in new areas, particularly maritime security, counter-terrorism and renewable energy,” K. Nagraj Naidu, joint secretary (Europe-West), told reporters.
Besides defence, cooperation in the areas of nuclear energy and space are the other pillars of the strategic partnership between India and France. “In the area of space, India and France have a matured engagement and we would like to take it to a new level,” Naidu said.
The Indo-French cooperation in the area of space is more than five-decades-old.
Besides conventional areas, thrust would also be on renewable energy, high-speed train connectivity and boosting trade ties between India and France.
After holding delegation-level talks with Modi on Saturday, Macron will take part in a Town Hall and have an interactive session, in which nearly 300 students from different levels and institutions are expected to participate. On the same day, he will also take part in a Knowledge Summit which will be attended by more than 200 academicians from both sides.
On 11 March, Sunday, President Macron will attend the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Summit, an initiative by France and India. The ISA Summit, expected to be attended by several heads of the states and governments, is likely to focus on concrete projects. On the same day, he will also visit Taj Mahal in Agra.
President Macron will also visit Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Modi, on 12 March. He, along with Modi, will inaugurate a solar plant in Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur.