New Delhi (IANS) — French President François Hollande's visit to India will feature talks on issues ranging from terror, climate change, higher education, the space program and nuclear cooperation, French Ambassador to India Francois Richier said Jan. 22.
Hollande will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in Delhi on Jan. 26.
He will arrive in Chandigarh on Jan. 24 and is expected to be received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Both leaders will hold extensive talks to strengthen counter-terror cooperation in the aftermath of the Paris and Pathankot terror attacks.
"The focus will be largely on terrorism, considering the current situation across the world. Terrorism will be high on the agenda. We are working closely with security forces to prevent any action against the French delegation," Richier told reporters here.
"The second element is climate. We will focus on the implementation of the joint declaration on climate announced in April. Both countries will follow up on the decisions taken at the Paris climate conference," he added.
He added: "There will be memorandums on smart cities; we'll work on energy storage, solar alliance and program. We will have announcements in the field of space. We'll announce new projects on space program in relation to observation and prevention of climate change. We'll also have investments in the wind energy."
There will also be talks and announcements in the field of biotechnology and sports.
"We've made new progress in the conceptual marine biotechnology research center announced in April. We'll have initiated news steps in the field of sports, including football and hockey. Three additional MOUs between higher education institutions from France and India are in the pipeline. We'll also work on promoting exchanges in higher education," the ambassador added.
On the issue of terrorism, Richier said: "Sharing of threat assessment will be undertaken. Some terror organizations are very regional in nature and well networked. So, it is good to understand the dynamics, how networking of Al Qaeda or Islamic State is developing or growing. We also need to assess how terror is travelling across the world."
Asked on civil nuclear cooperation, he said Paris-based Areva, the French multinational group specializing in nuclear and renewable energy, was being taken over by UK-based EDF Energy, which operates 60 nuclear reactors in France.
"Now, EDF will be in the lead for this kind of operation. It is changing the way nuclear negotiations are being conducted. The main development will probably be taken into account," he said.
The French president will land in Chandigarh around 1 p.m. on Jan. 24 and spent a few hours in the city.
He will meet a French delegation at the Indo-French forum, engage with business community in Chandigarh. A series of economic agreements will be signed with regard to partnerships between India and French companies.
During the French president's visit, both the countries will also sign MoUs on smart cities. Chandigarh will be developed into a smart city by partnership of both countries.
"A study is being conducted by French and Indian Railways on introducing high-speed trains between New Delhi and Chandigarh," he added.
On Jan. 25, the visiting president will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi. He will visit Rajghat, meet the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and attend a press conference at the Hyderabad House in the national capital.
The president will participate in a solar alliance event in Gurgaon. A meeting with Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and a state banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan are also on his itinerary.
On Jan. 26, Hollande will be chief guest at the Republic Day parade in Delhi. Thereafter, he'll attend an 'At Home' tea at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and leave for Paris.
On a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the ambassador said: "With regard to a meeting with the opposition... yes, there is a private meeting. It is not part of the program. Sonia Gandhi is not the leader of the opposition, but of course she is the chairperson of an important opposition party."
A PTI report from Bengaluru on Jan. 22 adds: The French Consulate here has received a threat letter against President Francois Hollande's visit to India.
The three-line letter in "broken English" threatening against Hollande's visit was received on Jan. 11 by the Office of the Consulate General of France, a senior police official said but did not specify the nature of threat.
The letter said Hollande, who is the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, should not visit India.
"Subsequently a case was registered on Jan. 14. Upon investigation it was found that the letter was from Chennai, but it was non-existent address," Additional Commissioner of Police, BengaluruCity (West), K.S.R. Charan Reddy said here.