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Published On: Sat, Mar 10th, 2018

Indian Ocean region would play a “significant role” : French Prez Macron

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mfile_1385098_1_L_20180310184422NEW DELHI : French President 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.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who is in India on a four-day state visit, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and held delegation-level talks in the national capital on Saturday.
“Defence cooperation between the two countries now has a new significance,” Macron said as a gushing PM 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.Modi, who welcomed Macron with a bear hug on his arrival Friday, said the accord was crucial as the Indian Ocean region would play a “very significant role” in the days to come.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron have said that India-France strategic partnership will play an important role in ensuring peace, security and stability in the Indian ocean region.
In their Joint Strategic Vision for Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, both leaders said, peace and security in the region will bring robust economic growth and prosperity.  The Joint Strategic vision said, India occupies a central position in the Indo-Pacific and it plays a pivotal role for the peace, security and prosperity. It said, France, a State of the Indian Ocean rim, is an important player in the region.
France and India have shared concerns with regard to the emerging challenges in the Indian Ocean Region including maritime traffic security in the face of the threats of terrorism and piracy, especially in the Horn of Africa, respect of international law by all States with freedom of navigation and overflight, fight against organized crime and combating climate change.

To widen and deepen strategic naval cooperation, India and France will be open to inviting strategic partner countries in the region to participate in Indo-French naval exercises.
Travelling with his wife Brigitte, France’s 40-year-old president will also visit the monument to love, the Taj Mahal, a few hours drive from the Indian capital on Sunday. On Monday, he heads to the chaotic Hindu holy city of Varanasi on the banks of the river Ganges, which the Indian premier has promised to modernise and clean up.
Macron’s visit comes after a somewhat misstep-laden visit to India by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.Both he and Macron are often compared internationally because of their broadly similar political views, as well as youth and good looks.( With Agency Inputs).

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