The Prime Minister, who welcomed Fabius, remarked that he had an opportunity on Monday to witness the launch of the French satellite, SPOT-7, which was placed in orbit by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from Sriharikota.

Recalling the strategic and friendly ties between the two countries, Modi sought French cooperation in the field of urban planning and heritage conservation.

Observing that France had provided technical support for the Ahmedabad Heritage Project, the Prime Minister said India planned to build heritage cities and 100 new smart cities.

“France has the expertise to help us in this regard,” he added.

Modi also sought French cooperation in the fields of tourism, skill development and low-cost defence manufacturing.

Fabius on his part said France was keen to expand the cooperation and the relationship, following the assumption of office by the new Government in India. He discussed the student exchange programme and further deepening of the technological cooperation between the two countries. The issue of terrorism also figured in the talks.

The meeting was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, Ambassador of India to France Arun Singh, Ambassador of France to India Francois Richier and other officials.

Fabius optimistic on sale of jet fighters to India

Fabius, who met his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley earlier on Monday,  said that he was confident about the outcome of talks to sell 126 Rafale fighter jets to India in a multi-billion-dollar deal that has been stalled for months.              

“The discussion is developing in a very positive way and ... we are very confident in the final outcome," Fabius told reporters.
An Indian Defence Ministry official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, was more cautious.
“I don't think the deal will be signed very soon. There are many intractable issues to be resolved," he said while declining to elaborate.

Modi has vowed to get India's economy out of the doldrums by cutting red tape to revive infrastructure projects - including in the defence industry.

The previous government was widely derided for failing to follow through on promises and for letting major projects become bogged down.
India chose French company Dassault Aviation's Rafale in 2012 over other international jet manufacturers but disagreements over cost and work-sharing have slowed talks, while India's weak economy has stretched government finances.
No final contract has been signed and rivals including Britain still doubt whether the deal will finalise.
"It is fair that for complex matters it takes some time, but there is a difference between some time and too long," Fabius said, talking about deals in general.
"The notion of efficiency - which is very important if I understand correctly, in the new government approach – is completely shared by us," he added.


‘India, France to focus on generating carbon-free energy’

Fabius on Tuesday called for greater Indo-French cooperation, with a focus on carbon-free energy generation, to tackle climate change.
Fabius underlined five concrete areas of cooperation, saying many countries in Europe have developed low-carbon industry which needs to be extended to India.

"India and France will work on five concrete areas of cooperation. These are cooperation on generating carbon-free energy with emphasis on new technology, developing partnership on civil nuclear-free energy, generating carbon-free electricity, developing an Indo-French water network, and sharing technology and know-how on urban development in India and making cities greener," Fabius said.

Fabius, who was speaking at a discussion on ‘Sustainable development in response to climate change’ here, said France has announced a credit line of one billion euro to India to be released in the next three years.

"The credit line is to enable India to have sustainable infrastructure and urban development," he said.

Fabius warned climate change is not a distant threat as is evident in rising water level and melting of glaciers.

"Climate change is real and it is here now. It is caused by us. But it is still possible to avert it and we must all work to that end," he said.


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