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Manmohan, Sarkozy to strengthen anti-terror cooperation
Paris, Jul 14 (IANS):
Published on 15 Jul. 2009 12:09 AM IST
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India and France Tuesday reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral ties as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Nicolas Sarkozy discussed an array of issues including the threat from international terrorism. At a working lunch in the French capital, the two leaders discussed the situation in the sub-continent and regional and global issues including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, the Middle East. India and France are strategic partners with close cooperation in the fields of education, health, defence, space and nuclear energy. Relations have developed rapidly in recent years. In recognition of the closeness and intensity of these ties, an annual leadership summit has now become the norm. Both leaders expressed satisfaction over their deepening ties. There is a strong convergence of interest on the measures that need to be taken to counter terrorism. The two leaders pledged to further cement their collaboration in the area. They expressed satisfaction at the implementation of civil nuclear energy and space cooperation as well as wide-ranging military ties. Complimenting India as “one of the greatest democracies in the world”, Sarkozy said: “India is a major power of the 21st century. (Its) involvement is essential in all major global matters.” Manmohan Singh reiterated his invitation to Sarkozy. The president said he would visit India soon. Manmohan Singh, who was the chief guest at France’s national day parade here Tuesday, said: “The magnificent parade dramatises the strength and dynamism of this great nation.” Leading the parade were the red turbaned men of the Maratha Light Infantry who began the march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde. The Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force also took part. “It was an honour for India to have a contingent representing all three services of our armed forces lead the parade. This reflects the friendship and strategic partnership between our two countries and the cordial ties between our armed forces,” Manmohan Singh said. “July 14 is a date important not only for France. The French Revolution marked a defining moment in the world history when the aspirations of the common man began to acquire a central place in political and social life. “The ideals of French revolution - liberty, equality and fraternity - helped to inspire our freedom struggle and guided the founding fathers of the Indian constitution. I am grateful to President Sarkozy for giving India a place of honour on this great occasion.” He said India-France relations and cooperation were growing “in strength and vitality in all fields”. “We have a strategic partnership and have built vibrant political ties, with collaboration in energy, space research, defence, industry and commerce, science and technology, education, culture and tourism. “It is my ardent wish that the partnership between our two democracies is further strengthened and deepened in the years to come. This will benefit the people of both our countries.” The prime minister leaves France to take part in the the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in the Egyptian resort Sharm el-Sheikh.

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