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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 15.02.2013

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee hosted a banquet in honour of the President of the French Republic, Mr. Francois Hollande yesterday (February 14, 2013) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Welcoming the French President on his first state visit to India, the President said his visit is yet another occasion to celebrate the high level of understanding between India and France. Both countries have long nurtured a close and substantive relationship based on shared principles and values and convergences on regional and global issues of common concern. The relationship has thrived on mutual respect, regular dialogue and constructive exchanges.

The President said the enduring friendship, marked by bilateral co-operation in diverse sectors has had rewarding outcomes to mutual benefit. As a result, today, more than 700 French enterprises have invested in India; and Indian companies are increasingly exploring opportunities in France. Bilateral trade has grown to almost 9 billion US Dollars in 2011-12 and France is today the 9th largest foreign investor in India. Joint initiatives which include technology transfer and collaborative development in the strategic areas of space, defence production and civil nuclear co-operation have been particularly successful.

France has been one of India’s oldest, closest and most reliable partners. Both countries agreed on the need to work bilaterally and multilaterally to shape a new global agenda for inclusive growth and revitalise global governance including the reform of its principal organs. The President reiterated that India appreciates the support consistently extended by France to India’s rightful claim to a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. The President expressed hope that under the French President’s leadership, India-France strategic partnership will continue to progress and mature in the years to come

This release issued at 1300hrs