New Delhi: India and France signed 14 agreements on the sidelines of French President Emmanuel Macron's four-day visit which began from Friday night. Highlighting the need for a strategic partnership between the two countries, Macron said it was time for the two great democracies of the world to work even closer.
India and France signed agreements on civil nuclear cooperation, space cooperation, transfer of electric mobility for Indian Railways etc. Macron, 40, hailed it as a new era in ties between the two countries. "India has been France's first ally in the region. It is the entry point for France in the region, and my aim is to make France the entry point for India to Europe," he said in a joint statement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Analysts had already predicted Macron pitching France as India's gateway to Europe after UK's exit from the European Union. And this is not just limited to trade and commerce but even in terms of people-to-people contact. "I think our countries have a very good chemistry. Our two great democracies have a historic relationship," he said, adding that cultural ties to much reach newer highs.
President Macron, who arrived in New Delhi late Friday night with wife Brigitte and top French businessmen and officials, was greeted by PM Modi at the airport. The two shared a warm embrace. 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. The two leaders will now co-chair the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on Sunday.