Singh, Sarkozy Discuss Nuke Energy, Defence Co-operation

Discussing cooperation in atomic engery, defence, space and other key areas, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed to work in concert in the fight against terrorism. Sarkozy hosted a working lunch in the honour of Singh, who was the Chief Guest at the impressive French National Day celebrations.

Sarkozy introduced Chief Guest Singh to thousands of people congregated at the Elysee palace at the National Day reception.

“India is one of the greatest democracies of the world,” he said, adding, “India is a ‘major power’ of the 21st century and India’s involvement is essential in all major global matters.”

In the course of the lunch, Singh and Sarkozy spoke about prevailing situation in the sub-continent and regional issues, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the Gulf, and other issues.

Appraising bilateral ties, the two leaders expressed satisfaction at the implementation of the civil nuclear energy and space cooperation and wide-ranging defence cooperation.

“There is a strong convergence of interest on threats posed by terrorism and measures to counter it. The leaders agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the area,” an official statement said.

It may be mentioned that India and France have a strategic partnership and the bilateral cooperation extends to education, health, defence, space, peaceful purposes of nuclear energy and such fields. The relations have deepened rapidly in the recent years.

In recognition of the closeness and intensity of these ties, an annual leadership summit has now become the norm. Both leaders expressed satisfaction at the steady deepening, broadening and development of the relations.

Prime Minister Singh renewed the invitation to Sarkozy to visit India, which the French President accepted, indicating hopes to visit India soon.

Singh, who became the first Indian leader to be the Chief Guest at the French celebrations, said in a statement that this reflects the friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries and the cordial ties between their armed forces.

“The magnificent parade we have witnessed dramatizes its strength and dynamism of this great nation,” the Prime Minister said after the event.

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