At a joint press meet, Prime Minister Modi stressed on the importance of people-to-people relationship for furthering in the bilateral relations between India and France. "Be it land, water, air, or space, our cooperation and ties bind us together in all", he said. "The third objective of this visit is to deliver the message that France should be the best partner for India, especially in Europe, the entry point for Europe".
All this comes amidst the ongoing political slugfest between the NDA government and Congress, with the latter levelling allegations that the "non-transparent" Rafale deal was vastly overpriced, violated defence procurement procedures, included no transfer of technology (ToT), and was meant to benefit the Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Defence as the "offsets partner" of the French fighter manufacturer Dassault Aviation.
"A strong part of our security and the world's stability is at stake in the Indian Ocean", Macron said.
Later, Modi tweeted, "Held important talks with President @EmmanuelMacron".
India's main exports to France include textiles, boilers, electrical machinery and equipment, organic chemicals, railroad rolling stock, mineral fuels, leather goods, and gems and jewelry.
The Prime Minister also pointed out the close cooperation of India and France in key sectors.
Mr Modi and Mr Macron are particularly anxious as China extended its military presence by opening a naval base in the eastern African nation of Djibouti past year. He later visited Rajghat. Macron will be accompanied by his wife, Brigitte Marie-Claude Macron, and a delegation of businessmen and ministry officials.
"We consider France one of our most reliable defence allies", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
He will also co-chair the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). They acknowledged that the Make-in-India initiative offers a valuable opportunity for Indian and French defence enterprises to enter into arrangements for co-development and co-production of defence equipment in India, including through transfer of know-how and technologies to the mutual benefit of all parties. India and France have pledged to achieve reduction in emissions as committed in Paris.
Sources indicate that while reviewing the ongoing military contracts and discussing the commissioning of INS Kalvari, the first Scorpene submarine made in India, Mr. Macron suggested extending the bilateral contract for the supply of more of these conventional submarines. Modi had visited France in June previous year, immediately after Macron was elected president.