Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron together underlined the strong ties between the two nations, which, they agreed, is deeper than the strategic ties between New Delhi and Paris.

“Our spiritual partnership is much older than the 20-year-long strategic partnership we share,” said PM Modi in his address following the signing of 14 agreements between India and France.

Thanking the French President for visiting India, PM Modi hailed it as “a meeting of like-minded societies not two leaders”.

“It is not a coincidence that the echo of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity exists in France and is enshrined in India’s Constitution,” said PM Modi reminding the gathering that soldiers of both nations have sacrificed themselves for these values in two world wars.

The PM pointed out that many of France’s luminaries such as Voltaire and Victor Hugo have found in India the inspiration behind their thoughts.

Both the leaders underscored the strong strategic bond between the two nations.

“Bilateral ties between India and France in the areas of defence, security and technology are very deep,” PM Modi said.

“Railway, urban development, security, space – from land to space we are working in all the fields,” he highlighted while giving examples of some of the agreements that were signed.

The PM and President Macron agreed that the reciprocal logistical support agreement is “a golden step” in the strategic ties between the two nations.

PM Modi also welcomed France’s commitment to Make in India project and said that the European nation will play a major role in peace, security and freedom of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

“The IOR is extremely significant for peace and stability; for this, we are releasing a ‘Joint Strategic Vision’,” said PM Modi.

President Macron said that the strategic partnership now means that Indian and French Naval forces will be able to make port calls in each others’ bases anywhere in the world.

It should be noted that France is one of the strongest naval powers in Europe. The country has around four bases in IOR alone.

“We are aligned against the threat from terrorism and are working together to counter radical elements. We are writing a new chapter in strategic partnership with the new agreements, including the IOR,” said President Macron.

He also drew attention to the fact that it was a French company which supported an Indian company for the Scorpene submarine programme. Macron also said that progress in the Rafale fighter jet is beinbg monitored.

Both the leaders stressed on the need for increased people to people ties.

“We want our youth to visit our respective nations and learn from each other. One agreement is to give recognition to educational qualifications and the second is migration and mobility partnership,” said PM Modi.

The two leaders also spoke on the need for the International Solar Alliance, a summit-level interaction of which will be co-chaired by PM Modi and President Macron on Sunday. Around 25 heads of governments will be participating in the ISA.

“For the sake of Planet Earth we are duty-bound to the ISA,” said the PM.

The 14 agreements signed are in the areas of defence, environment, space technology and atomic energy.