France, India deepen defence ties with key security deal

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France had already committed $300 million euros to the initiative when it co-founded with India a global alliance in 2015 to unlock new cash for solar projects in sunny yet poor nations.

Modi also said that people-to-people ties, especially the youth, is the most important dimension for the bright future of the bilateral relationship.

Under the deal, India and France will open their naval bases to warships from each other, a move seen as an attempt to undermine China's territorial ambitions. "I believe that the agreement signed today to provide logistical support to the two countries' armies is a turning point in the history of our close military cooperation", Modi said.

Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a news conference in New Delhi after signing the agreements, also committed to strengthening their partnership on defence and security.

The development comes in the backdrop of the decision by the two countries to step their maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean, a region that has been witnessing growing presence of the Chinese navy. We very much want to continue the programme.

India and France also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and the National Solar Energy Institute (INES) in France.

Some 60 countries have signed the framework agreement of the ISA and 30 submitted the instruments of ratification.

During their discussions, Modi and Macron "noted with satisfaction" the on-schedule progress in the implementation of acquisition related agreements, including the Rafale aircraft agreement that was signed in 2016.

"We need to remove all obstacles and scale up", Macron said at the launch of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi on Sunday. After the ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the wreath laying at Rajghat on Saturday, Macron and Modi went in for their official bilateral talks at the Hyderabad House, and then watched the exchange of 14 MoUs.

The two leaders also reaffirmed that the strengthening of the India-French technological cooperation on renewable energy was a "common priority" for encouraging the emergence and dissemination of innovation in all the sectors.

President Macron will also meet Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Macron, who will be on the third leg of his trip, will visit Mirzapur along with Modi to inaugurate a solar power plant before returning to Varanasi.

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