French President Emmanuel Macron interacts with students at Bikaner House

French President Emmanuel Macron

"From the ground to the sky, there is no subject on which India and France are not working together", said Mr Modi. This apart, the two sides released a joint vision for space cooperation, and a joint strategic vision in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). "I believe that the agreement signed today to provide logistical support to the two countries' armies is a turning point in the history of our close military cooperation", Modi said.

Despite the age difference between them, Modi and Macron have established a personal chemistry between them which was very much in evidence as the two leaders hugged each other at the ceremonial welcome accorded to the French leader at the Rashtrapati Bhavanon Saturday morning.

"We have strong relations in defence equipment and manufacturing". "We value these investments and would encourage France to associate with our flagship initiatives such as Make in India, Skill India and Digital India", it quoted him as saying.

"It is absolutely critical because our two democracies have common challenges regarding terrorism, a lot of common risks, a lot of threats, "Macron said. The Indian Ocean, like the Pacific Ocean, can not become a place of hegemony", he said".

In a direct reference to China's aggressive stance in South China Sea, Macron said sea lanes should be free from aggression and any kind of domination over those can not be tolerated.

These countries have "the paradox of being the sunniest in the world while enjoying the least solar energy", said Ségolène Royal, a former French minister in India as a special envoy for the alliance. Under the deal, India and France will open their naval bases to each other's warships - a move seen as an attempt to undermine China's territorial ambitions.

Sources said India's range of operations and ability to monitor hijacking, trafficking, smuggling and terrorism goes up by 100 per cent due to this pact. He, along with PM Modi, will inaugurate a solar plant in Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.

He also laid importance on the strategic partnership between the two countries, which has crossed 20 years old. Apparently taking a dig at China for its growing ambition in the South China Sea, the two leaders reiterated that cooperation between India and France would be crucial in order to maintain the safety of worldwide sea lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications in accordance with the global law, for countering maritime terrorism and piracy. He stressed on three takeaways from his discussions with Macron.

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