India, France join hands for Indian Ocean security

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"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.

During the visit, the two countries will look to boost ties, especially in the areas of maritime security and counter-terrorism.

New Delhi was declared to have welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron late Friday for his four-day India tour.

"Defence cooperation between the two countries now has a new significance", Macron said as a gushing Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood by his side. He was given a ceremonial welcome at the RashtraPati Bhawan on Saturday morning.

One of the key agreements is a reciprocal logistics support deal between the respective armed forces of India and France. Macron said India and France have made a decision to work together to deal with threats of terrorism and radicalisation. "We want India as our first strategic partner here, and we want to be India's first strategic partner in Europe, and even the western world", the French president said.

"The Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region" stated that India and France share common concerns on freedom of navigation in the region and will tackle challenges to over-flight and threat of weapons of mass destruction.

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The India-France partnership will also help fight organized crime, trafficking, including in weapons of mass destruction, smuggling and illegal fishing; combating climate change and its consequences on security, particularly in terms of natural disasters; protection of the environment and natural resources, including tackling oil spills; and aid to victims of disasters.

Till Thursday, 60 countries had signed the framework agreement of the ISA and another 30 submitted the instruments of ratification.

This is Macron's first visit to India after he assumed office in May in 2017.

The French President is scheduled to attend the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Summit, an initiative mooted by France and India on Sunday followed by a visit to Taj Mahal.

The 40-year-old president, who is travelling with a delegation of French companies that includes EDF (EDF.PA), Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA), Schneider Electric (SCHN.PA) and Suez (SEVI.PA), will also inaugurate a solar plant built by Engie (ENGIE.PA) in Uttar Pradesh.

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