French president Emmanuel Macron to start maiden India visit from 9 March

New Delhi: French President Emmanuel Macron will arrive in India on March 9 on a four-day maiden visit, during which he would discuss bilateral economic, political and strategic ties, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

A framework agreement on Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) is expected to be signed between the two sides during the visit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold delegation-level talks with the French president on 10 March.

File image of French president Emmanuel Macron. AP

File image of French president Emmanuel Macron. AP

The leaders will co-chair the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) a day later. The initiative to form the ISA for harnessing solar energy was taken by Modi and Macron's predecessor François Hollande nearly two years ago, the ministry said in a statement.

The ISA aims to mobilise $1 trillion of investments needed by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy, according to the 'ISA Mission' on its website.

The French president's spouse Brigitte Marie-Claude Macron will also accompany him on the visit to India.

The last French presidential visit to India was in January 2016, when Hollande was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. Modi last visited France in June, 2017, immediately after Macron was elected as the president.

The India-France strategic partnership, established in 1998, is one of the most important and comprehensive bilateral engagements. It is marked by intense and frequent high-level exchanges and deep political understandings.

"We have enhanced our ongoing cooperation in the defence, maritime, space, security, and energy-related sectors, and are increasingly working together on all issues of concern, including terrorism, climate change, sustainable growth and development, infrastructure, smart urbanisation, S&T cooperation, and youth exchanges," the MEA statement said.

"The visit of President Macron is aimed at strengthening the economic, political and strategic dimension of our bilateral engagement," it said.

The bilateral trade between India and France between April 2016 and March 2017 reached $10.95 billion.

France is the ninth largest foreign investor in India, with a cumulative investment of $6.09 billion from April 2000 to October 2017.

Close to 1,000 French companies operate in India and about 120 Indian firms have invested in excess of euro 1 billion in France and employ close to 7,000 people there.

The India-France CEO's Forum will also take place during Macron's visit, the MEA statement said.

The visit is aimed at forging not only strong manufacturing and technology partnerships, but also greater people-to-people contacts, especially through greater exchanges of students and researchers, it added.

Updated Date: Mar 01, 2018 21:53 PM

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