Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Statement to the Press on India-France Summit, Paris ; September 30, 2008
His Excellency President Sarkozy, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press.
It is a great honour for me to visit France at the invitation of President Sarkozy. I am most grateful to the Government and people of France for the warm hospitality that has been extended to me and to my delegation.
President Sarkozy is a great friend of India and an international statesman. Under his dynamic leadership, we seek to further deepen and expand our strategic partnership with France.
This was my second Summit meeting with President Sarkozy within one year. We reviewed the progress that has been made in our cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, science and technology, space, defence, culture and education since President Sarkozy’s visit to India in January this year, and discussed ways and means to further strengthen our relations.
I also had the opportunity to meet Prime Minister Francois Fillon, to whom I extended an invitation to visit India.
Today we have added a new dimension to our strategic partnership by signing an inter-governmental agreement on civil nuclear cooperation. France is the first country with whom we have entered into such an agreement after the lifting of international restrictions on civil nuclear cooperation with India by the Nuclear Suppliers Group. I conveyed to President Sarkozy our gratitude for France’s consistent support to our civil nuclear initiative.
We have also signed important agreements in the field of peaceful uses of outer space and social security. We agreed that defence cooperation between India and France should move away from a buyer-seller relationship to joint production and transfer of technology.
We agreed that India and France are on course to achieve the target of raising our bilateral trade to 12 billion Euro by 2012. We agreed to work towards promoting and facilitating investments in each other’s countries.
We will continue to encourage initiatives aimed at promoting exchanges of students, researchers and academics and at deepening institutional linkages between our universities.
We discussed the impact of the international financial crisis on the global economy, energy security, food security and climate change. We both agreed on the need to reform international institutions, including the United Nations, to more effectively deal with these issues. We agreed to enhance cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism.
I believe my visit has opened new vistas in our relations with France which are based on the solid foundation of our shared commitment to democracy, pluralism and the rule of law. There is much that India and France can do bilaterally as well as globally.