Chandigarh: Lauding France for its ability to combat terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday revealed that he had decided to invite President Francois Hollande as the chief guest for India's Republic Day parade, the day Paris was attacked on 13/11.
"My motto is development and France is one of our most valued partners. The day when Paris was hit by terror attacks, I had decided that the guest at Republic Day parade must be from France," Prime Minister Modi said while speaking at the India-France Business Summit here.
Further praising France for shepherding the COP 21 negotiations in Paris, the Prime Minister said France has shown the way of combating terrorism without deviating from its principles and journey of progress.
"The trust and friendship with France is an asset for us. President Hollande is correct that terrorism is a challenge, just like global warming. Within days of the attack, France hosted so many world leaders. People, the media of France must be appreciated," he said.
French President Francois Hollande who is in India to attend the Republic Day celebrations, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's participation at the recent COP 21 in Paris and said that he had played a decisive role at the climate summit.
Addressing the India France Business Summit here, the President said that his visit has two main goals- "consolidate strategic partnership with India and implement decisions taken during Prime Minister Modi's visit to France".
Asserting that defence is a very important matter, Prime Minister Modi said cyber security is becoming vital, adding that India's talent and the manufacturing of France can achieve a lot.
"In such a short span of time, India's 'Ease of Doing Business' rankings improved substantially. India will stand shoulder to shoulder with France in the battle against terrorism. India has the power of 800 million youth. Through good governance we want to reach global benchmarks," he added.
Prime Minister Modi stated that the 400 French companies working in India have had a positive experience of operating here and the world has accepted India as a good investment destination.
"India and France are made for each other. France has the resources, we have the need and the market. France's greatest strength is innovation. India has lot of opportunity to work with France in terms of infrastructure, waterways etc. India wants to play a major role in the fight against global warming. In innovation also France can be an important partner for India," said the Prime Minister.
Stating that India wants to work with France for the development of humankind, Prime Minister Modi expressed his gratitude to France for working with India to convert Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry into Smart Cities.
Meanwhile, both nations exchanged 16 agreements during the India-France Business Summit, promising progress across different sectors.
"Comprehensive & Multisectoral Partnership.16 agreements exchanged in Chandigarh during India-France Business Summit," Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.
Comprehensive & Multisectoral Partnership 16 agreements exchanged in Chandigarh during India-France Business Summit pic.twitter.com/eQ6TFGuOuI— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) January 24, 2016
Away from Delhi, business takes centre stage. The leaders attend the CEOs Forum followed by a Business Summit pic.twitter.com/fU7NEwQeN0— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) January 24, 2016
Earlier today, President Hollande arrived in Chandigarh on a three-day visit to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi him at the world famous rock garden.
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....