Mukherjee says France is one of India's oldest, closest and most reliable partners

New Delhi, Feb. 15 (ANI): Asserting that France has been one of India's oldest, closest and most reliable partners, President Pranab Mukherjee has said both countries agreed on the need to work bilaterally and multilaterally to shape a new global agenda for inclusive growth and revitalise global governance, including the reform of its principal organs.

President Mukherjee, who hosted a banquet in honour of French President Francois Hollande at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here, said his visit is yet another occasion to celebrate the high level of understanding between India and France.

"Both countries have long nurtured a close and substantive relationship based on shared principles and values and convergences on regional and global issues of common concern. The relationship has thrived on mutual respect, regular dialogue and constructive exchanges," he added.

President Mukherjee said the enduring friendship, marked by bilateral co-operation in diverse sectors has had rewarding outcomes to mutual benefit.

"As a result, today, more than 700 French enterprises have invested in India; and Indian companies are increasingly exploring opportunities in France. Bilateral trade has grown to almost none billion US Dollars in 2011-12 and France is today the 9th largest foreign investor in India," said President Mukherjee.

"Joint initiatives which include technology transfer and collaborative development in the strategic areas of space, defence production and civil nuclear co-operation have been particularly successful," he added.

Reiterating that India appreciates the support consistently extended by France to India's rightful claim to a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, President Mukherjee expressed hope that under the French President's leadership, India-France strategic partnership will continue to progress and mature in the years to come. (ANI)

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