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SOURCE: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held “fruitful” talks with French President Emmanuel Macron over a working lunch with a focus on ramping up cooperation in areas of defence, nuclear energy, trade and food security.

After the meeting that took place on the sidelines of the G-20 summit here, Modi said close India-France ties are a “force of great global good”. It is understood that the Ukraine conflict and its implications including on food and energy security figured in the talks.

“As always, an excellent meeting with President @EmmanuelMacron. We had in-depth discussions on various issues including boosting cooperation in defence, nuclear energy and food security. Close India-France ties are a force of great global good,” Modi tweeted.

On his part, Macron tweeted that both sides share the same agenda for peace and that France will work on it under India’s upcoming G20 Presidency.

The prime minister’s office said the two leaders discussed how to enhance defence ties, further sustainable growth and increase economic cooperation.

“PM @narendramodi and President @EmmanuelMacron held talks at the @g20org Summit in Bali. They had fruitful deliberations on a variety of subjects. The two leaders discussed how to enhance defence ties, further sustainable growth and increase economic cooperation,” it tweeted.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Modi and Macron reviewed cooperation in defence, civil nuclear, trade, investment and new areas of economic engagement.

Without elaborating, he said they also discussed regional and global developments.

The military cooperation between India and France has witnessed a major expansion in the last few years.

Currently, Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande is on a visit to France.

In August, a French Air and Space Force contingent, including three Rafale jets, made a strategically crucial stopover at the IAF’s Sulur base in Tamil Nadu as part of a mega military operation it carried out in the Pacific Ocean.

In March, the Indian and French navies carried out a five-day mega wargame in the Arabian Sea, involving frontline ships, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft, fighter aircraft and helicopters.

The Indian and French navies in April last year too carried out a mega wargame in the Arabian Sea.

The French Navy deployed its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, and its entire carrier strike group in that exercise, reflecting growing congruence in naval ties.