Maritime Security, Nuclear Deal To Top Agenda Of Macron's India Talks

NEW DELHI: Maritime security and nuclear cooperation will be the staple items on the table when French President Emmanuel Macron holds discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to India this weekend.

While the "Quad" comprising India, Japan, Australia and the US is pitched as the new political counterpoint to China in the India-Pacific space, India and France have found much to be close about in the Indian Ocean. The two countries have realised that the way forward is closer bilateral cooperation, rather than "rushing" into a multilateral format, significant at a time when pluri-laterals or mini-laterals find favour.

India and France are also hoping to get an agreement between NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited) and EDF (of France) on six nuclear reactors that could lead to greater indigenisation of components and services for the reactors.

"We have shared concerns in the Indian Ocean. We are more ambitious, more pragmatic and more coherent," a source said. This is a new element in the France-India bilateral relationship, which will require much closer work. During Macron's visit, both countries are expected to sign agreements that will allow India logistics access to French military bases in the Indian Ocean. 

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