On Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting with French President Francois Hollande at Hyderabad House in Delhi. The two leaders strengthened strategic ties by signing a total of 14 pacts including an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on the multi-billion dollar Rafale jet deal. Both sides also sent out a strong word against terrorism.
“…Leaving out financial aspect, India and France have signed Inter-Governmental Agreement on purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets. We expect that even the financial aspects pertaining to purchase of Rafale jets will be resolved as soon as possible,” PM Modi said at a joint press event after the meet was over.
President Hollande called the IGA as a “decisive” step and said that there were some financial issues that would be sorted out in “couple of days”.
Both India and France also enhanced cooperation in counter-terrorism measures.
“From Paris to Pathankot, we saw the gruesome face of the common challenge of terrorism…I also commend the strength of your resolve and action (against) these terrorist attacks. President Hollande and I have agreed to scale up the range of our counter-terrorism cooperation in a manner that helps us to tangibly mitigate and reduce the threat of extremism and terrorism to our societies…We are also of the view that the global community needs to act decisively against those who provide safe havens to terrorists, who nurture them through finances, training and infrastructure support,” PM Modi said.
Interestingly, both India and France reiterated their stand that Pakistan should bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks so that such attacks do not recur in the future.
Recalling the deadly Paris attacks that killed over 130 people, Hollande said,”Daesh has attacked us. The ISIS is provoking us but we are determined to take the right decision. We will strike them
time and again those who kill our children. I would like to thank you for the support in dire circumstances. France will never forget. We have decided to strengthen our cooperation
The two sides resolved to step up their joint effort to counter radicalisation, disrupt recruitment, stop terror financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent supply of arms to
“To this end, they (India and France) committed to further develop exchanges in the fields of intelligence, finance, justice and police. They welcomed the strengthening of the cooperation between Indian and French counter terrorism authorities and units, in particular between their cybersecurity experts,” said the joint statement that was released after the meet.
President Hollande is on a three-day visit to India and he will also be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade on January 26.
Early on Monday morning, Hollande visited Rajghat to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. He was also given a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee and PM Modi.
(With inputs from PTI)