President Patil hosts dinner for Sarkozy

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New Delhi, Jan 26 : President Pratibha Patil hosted a dinner in honour of visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Rashtrapati Bhavan last evening.

Sarkozy said India and France should work together on issues ranging from combating terror to "the ecological crisis the world is facing."

"We can together combat the terrorism that threatens our democracies. I aspire also to enhancement of economic and scientific exchanges. I also aspire to seeing even greater and closer links between our people, exchange of students, tourism, cultural," he said.

President Patil thanked Sarkozy for his country's support to India's cause.

"We deeply appreciate constant support of France for the permanent membership of India in the United Nations Security Council. France is an important partner in the context of India's interaction with the G-8 and the European Union," she said.

"We look forward to working closely with France during its presidency of the European Union in the latter half of 2008," she added.

Sarkozy echoed Britain's recent support for India's bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, where Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States have wielded exclusive veto power since 1945.

Sarkozy has also voiced support for India's nuclear deal with the United States.

A joint declaration between the two governments said, "France and India have finalized negotiation in regard to reaching a bilateral agreement for civil nuclear cooperation."

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