India, France have similar visions for 21st century: Pratibha Patil

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (UNI) President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today said India and France had similar visions of how they would like to see the world of the 21st century take shape.

"A vision that is in keeping with the deep pride and confidence that both our countries feel on account of their rich cultural heritage and independent decision making. It also reflects a shared belief in a rule based, multi-polar and a just world," Ms Patil said at a banquet she hosted in the honour of the visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr Sarkozi's state visit was a testament to the mutual desire to renew and to strengthen the friendly ties and partnership between India and France, she said.

''We value your presence here today and are honoured to have you as the Chief Guest of our Republic Day celebrations. We look at your visit as an important milestone in the effort of our two countries to further strengthen our Strategic Partnership,'' the President said.

The two nations shared a profound commitment to the values of freedom and human dignity. 'Liberty, equality and fraternity' the slogan of revolutionaries everywhere from the time of the French Revolution, also influenced the leaders of India's freedom struggle and democratic construction. It was now for the two nations to revitalize this common heritage in the search for a more just and equitable world order, she said.

As a vibrant democracy of more than one billion people, India took pride in its multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious milieu.

''Indeed for us - a democratic ethos infuses the life of the Indian nation and gives inspiration and opportunity to our people, just as it does to yours.

It is through respect for plurality and democracy that India celebrates its unity in diversity. It is the commitment to human values that enable us to live with both continuity and change.'' UNI SN BDP RAI2150

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