India, France to enhance cooperation in defence sector

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New Delhi, Dec 6 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Monday said that both India and France have decided to enhance cooperation in the defence sector.

In a joint statement, Dr Singh said: "France is one of India's most important and reliable defence partners. We deeply appreciate France's willingness to supply us advanced defence technologies in a way that contributes to the modernisation of our own defence industry."

He said the strengthening of this partnership owes a great deal to the personal commitment of President Nicholas Sarkozy.

Praising President Sarkozy, Dr. Singh said: "It is because of his inspiring leadership and unqualified support that relations between India and France are today underpinned by warmth, dynamism, strong mutual trust and confidence."

He said my discussions with President Sarkozy were wide-ranging and extremely productive. We have made significant progress on all issues that are part of our bilateral agenda.

"In the field of nuclear energy, negotiations have reached an advanced stage to pave the way for the launching of nuclear power reactors in Jaitapur in partnership with Indian industry," he said.

"Several other agreements to expand interaction in the nuclear sector to areas such as research and training of scientists and students, nuclear safety, nuclear waste management and regulatory practices have been concluded," he added.

"President Sarkozy and I have renewed our determination to achieve the trade target of 12 billion Euros by 2012. We value the role being played by the India-France CEOs Forum," Dr Singh said.

"We will examine their recommendations on increasing investments in the energy, water and infrastructure sectors, establishment of joint ventures in third countries, and enhancing collaboration in areas of R and D and higher education," he added.

Dr Singh said: "We discussed our cooperation in the fields of education and culture.

"India will soon establish an Indian Cultural Centre in Paris. France will collaborate with us in the creation of a centre of excellence in the Indian Institute of Technology, Rajasthan," he added."We also discussed other regional and global issues of common concern, including the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Myanmar, terrorism and climate change. We have agreed to work closely with each other on all these issues during our membership of the UN Security Council," he added. (ANI)

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