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PM begins France tour, eyes on Rafale fighter jet deal and nuclear energy

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

On a three-nation tour, Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Paris on Thursday night. He will hold talks with French President Francois Hollande, and meet the business leaders and influencers.

During PM’s four-day stay in France, the focus of the talks will be on defense, trade and civil nuclear energy.
Ahead of the dialogues between PM Modi and French President Hollande, the government said that it expects “movement” on a proposal for setting up French nuclear reactors in Jaitapur in Maharashtra as well as Rafale fighter jet deal, which are pending for long.

The agenda of the substantive discussions between Modi and Hollande will focus high on trade, nuclear energy and fighter jet deal. It is also anticipated that the PM will try to seek France’s participation in India’s ‘Make in India’ program. In addition, a deliberation on terrorism, against the backdrop of an attack in Paris, will also be there between Modi and Hollande.

Jaitapur is where a French company, Areva, is to set up six nuclear reactors with total power generation capacity of about 10,000 MW. The project is stuck from long time over the differences on the cost of electricity to be generated.

Similarly, the clash over price has almost created a dead end for a deal to supply 126 Rafale fighter planes.

When asked whether the two leaders will discuss about the much awaited Jaitapur nuclear project and multi-billion dollar Rafale jet deal, External Affairs Ministry spokesman, Syed Akbaruddin, said that, “India and France are strategic partners. In this context, the issues of civil nuclear and defense cooperation will be discussed. The issues you referred to will also be discussed. We expect movement on these issues. There will be substantive discussions on defence and nuclear issues. Wait for the outcome.”

However, the highlight of the tour will be ‘Naav Pe Charcha,’ PM’s chat with Hollande during a boat ride when they will go for a cruise on River Seine.

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

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He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)

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