India, France to deepen business ties

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French President Francois Hollande (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the India-France Business Summit in India's northern city of Chandigarh, January 24, 2016. France will sign an intergovernmental agreement with India to clear the way for a long-awaited $9 billion deal to sell French-built Rafale warplanes to India, Hollande said on Sunday. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain - RTX23S9F

French President Francois Hollande (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the India-France Business Summit in India’s northern city of Chandigarh, January 24, 2016. France will sign an intergovernmental agreement with India to clear the way for a long-awaited $9 billion deal to sell French-built Rafale warplanes to India, Hollande said on Sunday. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain – RTX23S9F

India’s talent and French manufacturing prowess can do wonders in the world, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India-France Business Summit, coinciding with French President Francois Hollande’s three-day visit to India.

Modi said India’s rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index has improved by 12 positions. This, he said, is a big achievement in a short span of time.

Hollande, who is the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations, is accompanied by CEOs from some of the leading French companies such as Dassault Aviation, Alstom, Lafarge, Schneider, Airbus, Solaire Direct, Areva and CapGemini.

Counter-Terrorism

During the business summit both leaders made a strong affirmation to fight terrorism globally. Modi said he had taken the decision to invite Hollande as the Republic Day chief guest “immediately” after the terrorist attack in Paris in November.

“After the Paris attacks took place, I immediately decided to invite President Hollande as the chief guest of Republic Day because I wanted to send the message of unity against terrorism,” he said.

Neither leader made a reference to the $9-billion Rafale jet fighter deal, which was widely expected to be signed during this visit. This is going to be discussed at length when both leaders hold the bilateral meeting on Monday.

But Modi says that, “Defence is a very important matter. India-French defence cooperation has a huge potential.”

Smart Cities

Three MoUs under the smart-city initiative were signed between French Development Agency (AFD) with Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry

An MoU with Thales was also signed to provide surveillance system in smart cities. Besides, other companies with whom agreements were signed are Schneider Electric, Alstom, Lafarge and Dassault Systems.

Climate Change

Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to fighting climate change even as they vowed to collaborate across all sectors to achieve the desired outcome. “We want India to play a crucial role in climate change initiatives. To reduce carbon footprint we can collaborate with France in a big way. France is also known for its innovation in renewable energy. In this India has joined hands with France and US. We are also working together in International Solar Alliance,” Modi said.

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