India, France to give new impetus to strategic ties

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New Delhi, Jan 25 : Giving a new impetus to strategic ties, India and France have finalized negotiations for a bilateral agreement on cooperation in the field of civil nuclear energy.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said at a joint press conference with French President Nicholas Sarkozy that the two sides also decided to bolster their defence cooperation and take it beyond a buyer-seller relationship,

Sarkozy said his two-day visit would lend momentum to bi-lateral ties between the two nations. Accompanied by senior ministers and a 60-member industry delegation, Sarkozy, sought to cement political and business ties with India. He also voiced support for Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

Describing his discussions with Sarkozy as "very productive and wide-ranging", Dr. Singh said both the sides "reaffirmed our strong mutual desire to further strengthen our strategic partnership."

"This partnership is long standing and rests on shared values and similar approaches to regional and global issues," Dr. Singh added.

Sarkozy, on his maiden visit to India after assuming office in May 2007 was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He was received at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Pratibha Patil and Dr. Singh. Sarkozy will be the chief guest for this year's Republic Day celebrations.

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