Modi, Hollande set the stage for counter-terror cooperation

They resolve to enhance strategic ties between India and France.

January 25, 2016 01:51 am | Updated November 17, 2021 04:39 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande at Rock Garden, Chandigarh. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande at Rock Garden, Chandigarh. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

India and France are set for a >new partnership in counter-terror cooperation, the visiting French President, Francois Hollande, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated on Sunday. In separate speeches at the CEO forum in Chandigarh, they underscored the need for the two countries to work together on fighting terror and enhancing their strategic partnership.

“France and India stand united in fighting terrorists and defeating terrorism,” Mr. Modi said. Drawing a parallel with France’s battle with terror, he said he decided to invite Mr. Hollande to be the guest at the Republic Day parade on November 13, the day Paris was hit by terror attacks. “France has shown that despite its innocents being killed in the terror strikes, it has continued its path for development...”

Hollande in Delhi: Today's highlights

  • -10 a.m. --> Ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan and wreath laying at Rajghat.
  • -12 p.m. --> Meet with PM, bilaterals at Hyderabad House and signing of agreement.
  • -4 p.m.--> Inauguration of International Solar Alliance Secretariat in Gurgaon.
  • -8 p.m.--> Banquet hosted by President Mukherjee.

Mr. Hollande said his first goal of visiting India was to “consolidate the strategic partnership”. On Monday, both leaders will hold bilateral talks, during which they are likely to discuss upgrading the “special and strategic partnership” signed in 1998. For the past few months, officials have been discussing a closer engagement on counter-terrorism cooperation on the lines of the India-U.S. homeland security dialogue, sources said.

NSA Ajit Doval is said to have spoken to French counter-terrorism officials during a visit to Paris in mid-January, while France’s top security official and Strategic Director of its intelligence agency DGSE Christophe Bigot was in Delhi in early December. The dialogue is likely to see more intelligence sharing on terror groups and on cyber-security issues, officials told The Hindu .

“Following the horrendous >attack in Paris and the recent terrorist >attack at the Pathankot airbase , it would be worth highlighting that cooperation between France and India on matters related to counterterrorism has acquired a very significant dimension,” External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said ahead of President Hollande’s visit. “Both India and France are victims of terrorism and we can expect a lot of discussions on this particular issue.”

On Friday, French Ambassador to India Francois Richier also said the cooperation would form a “new front against terrorism”. “The French security database is among the world’s most effective and we are pushing France to share their database with us and this will set an example for other European and western countries to firm up similar plans with India,” Brig (Retired) Gurmeet Kanwal explained to The Hindu.

Hollande, Modi to take up defence, space and nuclear cooperation

Having tackled >business-to-business issues at their meeting in Chandigarh on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande are likely to focus on inter-governmental issues on Monday.

These include the > completion of the agreement for the purchase of Rafale aircraft .

Expectations have been rising ahead of Mr. Hollande’s visit of a breakthrough in price negotiations, similar to the one in the >India-U.S. nuclear deal that was announced when President >Barack Obama visited India for Republic Day in 2015 .

Mr. Modi and Mr. Hollande will take up the pricing issue on Monday, officials confirmed.

Both sides are likely to announce a new phase of space cooperation between the space agencies ISRO and CNES, with a special satellite dedicated to climate change research.

In addition, India and France will discuss more cooperation on the lines of the renewable energy agreement signed last April. Shortly after their meeting in Delhi on Monday, Mr. Modi and Mr. Hollande will travel to Gurgaon to inaugurate the International Solar Alliance Secretariat.

Officials said the two sides could announce new partnerships for more nuclear energy plants, while discussing the hurdles to land acquisition for the six-reactor 9,900-MW Jaitapur facility for which Areva and NPCIL signed an agreement in 2010.

The leaders will end the day by attending a banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee and will officiate at the Republic Day parade on the morning of January 26. This is the fifth time a French President is being invited as the chief guest for the parade, marking a record honour for any country invited by India.

They will take the salute for the first time from a French contingent of the 35th infantry regiment that has fought terror groups in Iraq and Afghanistan. "The two countries have unfortunately experienced terrorism in different ways, and hence there are different experiences, but they can learn from one another," Lt Col P Bury, Commanding Officer of the 35th Infantry Regiment of 7th Armoured Brigade told PTI . Speaking about the contingent marching down Rajpath as a symbol of Indo-French cooperation, President Hollande said the occasion on Tuesday would an “exclusive and historic” one.

Modi-Hollande billateral talks: Key issues

  • -Upgrade of strategic partnership established in 1998
  • -Talks on counter-terror cooperation and Homeland security dialogue.
  • -Completion of Inter Governmental Agreement for purchase of 36 Rafale aircrafts.
  • -Nuclear issues over current Jaitapur plant, discussions on more nuclear plants.
  • -Space cooperation, including launch of satellite for climate change research.
  • -Renewable energy MoU and global solar alliance.

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