India, France sign security deal with an eye on China

Mar 11, 2018, 10:55 IST | Agencies

Both countries sign 14 key pacts in areas of security, nuke energy and protection of classified info

Emmanuel Macron and Narendra Modi
Emmanuel Macron and Narendra Modi

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said defence ties with India had reached a new high after the two nations signed a key security accord for the Indian Ocean to counter China's growing influence in the region.

"Defence cooperation between the two countries now has a new significance," Macron said as a gushing Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood by his side. Under the deal, India and France will open their naval bases to warships from each other, a move seen as an attempt to undermine China's territorial ambitions. "A strong part of our security and the world's stability is at stake in the Indian Ocean," Macron said. "The Indian Ocean, like the Pacific Ocean, cannot become a place of hegemony," he added in an apparent reference to China.

PM Modi said the accord was crucial as the Indian Ocean region would play a "very significant role" in the days to come. The comments from the leaders followed a slew of agreements signed by the two countries in the spheres of defence, space and clean energy. "From the ground to the sky, there is no subject on which India and France are not working together," said PM Modi.

A technical agreement was also signed on the French-assisted nuclear power project at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

Varanasi launches Indo-French club 
Varanasi: Ahead of the proposed visit by French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a group of local youths and some French nationals have formed a 'Indo-French Friends Club' to work towards improving man-to-man contact between the people of the two countries.

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