French President Emmanuel Macron says his country wants to replace Britain as India’s gateway to Europe، according to media reports.
In his official visit to New Delhi، Macron said France was ready to build what he described as a historic partnership with India.
He also emphasized that both countries had great potentials to become key partners، expressing hope that his visit would open a new era for a strategic partnership between the two countries.
"Your historical partner in Europe was the United Kingdom، and I want France to become the new partner،" Macron was quoted as saying by media.
"The first [objective of my visit] is to seal for the decade to come a strong pact around collective security in the region between our two democracies.”
The French president and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi oversaw the signing of contracts worth €13 billion on Saturday.
The deals include a contract for France's Safran to supply airline Spice Jet with engines، water system modernization by Suez in the southern city of Davangere and a contract between industrial gas company Air Liquide and Sterlite، Reuters reported.
A so-called "Industrial Way Forward Agreement" was signed between French utility EDF and India's NPCIL for the construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur. Negotiations over the construction of next-generation nuclear reactors in India have been dragging on for years.
It was not immediately clear whether these were firm contracts or letters of intent، Reuters added.
Trade between India and France in 2016-17 touched €8.9 billion ($10.95 billion)، with France listed as the ninth largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative investment of over €4.87 billion ($6 billion) from April 2000 to October 2017، according to Indian government figures. The investments span various sectors، including defense، automobiles، aviation and pharmacy.