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French foreign minister invites Modi to France

July 02
07:31 2014
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi, July 1 Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius Tuesday discussed strengthening cooperation in defence, trade, investment and urban development.

Fabius, who is on a tour of India, also extended President Francois Hollande’s invitation to Modi to visit France.

Both leaders reiterated their commitment to further strengthen and expand their bilateral relationship.

Fabius called the meeting “warm”, and said he had “positive” talks on issues of urban planning, tourism and low-cost defence manufacturing.

“The next step is for French firm Dassault and for the Indian government to discuss the details which have not yet been discussed and hopefully reach a conclusion… for us, the earlier the better,” the minister told a select group of news agency journalists.

Officials from the Prime Minister’s Office said Modi sought French cooperation in urban planning and heritage conservation.

Observing that France provided technical support for the Ahmedabad Heritage Project, Modi said India plans to build heritage cities and 100 new smart cities and sought France’s cooperation in it.

“The prime minister also sought French cooperation in tourism, skill development and low-cost defence manufacturing,” an official statement said.

“The French foreign minister said France was keen to expand cooperation and the relationship, following the assumption of office by the new government in India,” it added.

“He (the French minister) discussed the student exchange programme, and further deepening of the technological cooperation between the two countries. The issue of terrorism also figured in the talks,” it said.

A PMO official said Modi also mentioned that French satellite SPOT-7 was placed in orbit by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from Sriharikota Monday.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, India’s Ambassador to France Arun Singh, and French Ambassador to India Francois Richier were also present during the meeting.

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