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PM Modi meets French President Hollande at Rock Garden


Chandigarh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday met French President Francois Hollande at Chandigarh’s famous Rock Garden.

The Rock Garden has been created by city resident Nek Chand entirely from waste material.

Both leaders will then attend a forum of select CEOs, which will be followed by the India-France Business Summit to be attended by the corporate honchos of the two nations.

He will be accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourts of Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday. Later, he will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi at the Hyderabad House, which will be followed by signing of agreements in various key sectors.

On January 26, the French President will witness the Republic Day parade at Rajpath as the chief guest. This is the fifth time that a serving President of France will be the Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day function.

Also, for the first time in independent India’s history, foreign troops (French troops) will be participating in the Republic Day parade.

Earlier, the Indian troops had participated in the Bastille Day celebrations in France in 2009.

On July 14, 2009, the Indian troops from the three services – army, navy and air force – marched down the Champs Elysees in Paris along with the French Army on the Bastille Day. The event also witnessed the participation of the Maratha Light Infantry, which is one of the oldest regiments of the Indian Army.

India and France will hold detailed discussion on terrorism in the backdrop of Paris and Pathankot attacks.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the talks will be held to further deepen the cooperation on terrorism as it has now become an international problem.

Ways to enhance trade between the two countries will also be high on the agenda.

Bilateral trade between the two sides is around eight billion dollars.

On the defence side, negotiations are on advance stage for 36 Rafale multi-role fighters deal with France.

New Delhi’s relationship with Paris is very comprehensive. It covers number of sectors such as defence, civil nuclear cooperation, railways, smart cities, science and research, space and culture.

India expects some forward progress in all these areas during the French President’s visit. (ANI)

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