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G7 Summit: PM Modi, Macron agree to deepen defence cooperation with focus on 'Make in India'

Apulia [Italy]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to bolster strategic defence cooperation, with a heightened emphasis on promoting India's 'Make in India' initiative.

PM Modi and French President Macron held a bilateral meeting on Friday on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Apulia, Italy.

France is India's closest strategic partner in Europe and the two sides have built up close cooperation, especially in security and defence. India is presently in negotiations with France to acquire 26 Rafale jets for the Indian Navy and earlier purchased 36 jets for the Indian Air Force under a 2016 deal worth Euro 7.87 billion.

Notably, India is participating in the Group of Seven (G7) Summit as an outreach country.

The summit is taking place at the luxurious Borgo Egnazia resort in Italy's Apulia region from June 13-15. PM Modi is attending the summit at the invitation of Italian PM Giorgia Meloni.

PM Modi touched down at Brindisi Airport in Apulia late Thursday night (local time), he was received by India's Ambassador to Italy, Vani Rao, and other officials.

After landing in Italy's Apulia to participate in the Group of Seven (G7) Summit, PM Modi said that he is looking forward to engaging in productive discussions with world leaders.

On the sidelines of G7, PM Modi met Macron, UK PM Rishi Sunak, and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

This was PM Modi's fourth meeting with President Macron in one year. They also discussed ways to encourage innovation and research among the youth.

"Had an excellent meeting with my friend President @EmmanuelMacron. This is our fourth meeting in one year, indicating the priority we accord to strong India-French ties. Our talks covered numerous subjects such as defence, security, technology, AI, Blue Economy and more. We also discussed how to encourage innovation and research among the youth. I conveyed my best wishes to him on the hosting of the Paris Olympics, which begins next month," said PM Modi in a post on X.

PM also thanked President Macron for his warm wishes on assuming office for the third consecutive term.

"The two leaders reviewed India-France bilateral relations, focusing on the 'Horizon 2047' Roadmap and the Indo-Pacific Roadmap. Discussions included cooperation in defence, nuclear, space, education, climate action, digital public infrastructure, connectivity and cultural initiatives such as the National Museum partnership and enhancing people-to-people ties," the Ministry of External Affairs said in an official release.

They agreed to further intensify strategic defence cooperation with an increased focus on 'Make in India.

"They also agreed to expand cooperation in the realms of AI, critical and emerging technologies, energy and sports, while working closely in the context of the forthcoming AI Summit and United Nations Oceans Conference, both to be hosted in France in 2025," the release said.

The two leaders also exchanged views on key global and regional issues. They emphasised that a strong and trusted strategic partnership

between India and France is crucial for a stable and prosperous global order and agreed to work closely to make it scale greater heights.

PM Modi extended his best wishes to President Macron for the forthcoming Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

This marks PM Modi's first trip abroad after assuming office for the third consecutive term.

MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal detailed the Prime Minister's engagements with world leaders on June 14.

Earlier, Prime Minister Modi, in his departure statement, said that he is glad that his first state visit in the third consecutive term is to Italy for the G7 Summit. He recalled his previous visit to Italy and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's visits to India which have contributed significantly to enhancing bilateral ties.

It will be India's 11th participation and PM Modi's fifth consecutive participation at the G7 Summit.

PM Modi is also expected to hold a bilateral meeting with his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni. 

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