Sarkozy reiterates France's support to India for UNSC's permanent membership

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Washington, April 13 (ANI): French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday reiterated his country's support for the permanent membership of United National Security Council (UNSC) for India.

"President Sarkozy reiterated French support for the permanent membership of United National Security Council (UNSC) for India," said Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vishnu Prakash informed journalists here.

"Both the leaders held discussions in which the French President remarked that India should get its rightful place in the international committee of nations," he further stated.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday held bilateral talks with the French President Sarkozy after the opening plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit here.

"Both the leaders also had a good discussion on regional issues of mutual interest including the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan," he added

"They, particularly, agreed to beef up the efforts of the international community on counter terrorism, which touches everybody, affects everybody," he informed.

France and India have extensive strategic co-operation, with the military services of both nations conducting joint exercises.

India has purchased much military equipment from France, especially the French Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft and the Scorphne class submarines.

France was one of the few nations who did not condemn India's nuclear tests in 1998 and has supported India's bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council as well as G-8.

France is one of the largest suppliers of nuclear fuel to India, and signed a "Framework Agreement for Civil Nuclear Co-operation" in January 2008 during French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to India.

During the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to France after India's waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), both nations signed an agreement that would pave the way for the sale of French-made nuclear reactors to India on September 30, 2008.

France and India also maintain a discreet "strategic dialogue" that covers joint cooperation against terrorism. However, India has objected to France's military assistance to Pakistan, with whom it is in conflict.

In July 2009 the French government invited the Dr. Manmohan Singh to be their chief guest at the French national day (Bastile day) celebrations.

Both countries pledged for closer economic, strategic and cultural cooperation on this occasion. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

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