Khurshid heads to France on two-day visit

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 09, 2013 12:50 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday travels to France on a two-day visit, his first since taking over as India's foreign minister.

Khurshid will hold bilateral discussions with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius and also have a meeting with President Francois Hollande, said a ministry spokesperson.

India and France are expected to discuss a cluster of issues, including civil nuclear cooperation, trade and investment, defence cooperation and the global financial crisis during the visit.

Relations between India and France have traditionally been close and friendly.

With the establishment of the strategic partnership in 1998, there has been significant progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation through regular high-level exchanges at the head of state and head of government levels, cooperation in strategic areas, growing economic and commercial ties and increased interaction in education, science and technology, culture and people-to-people relations.

Trade between the two countries in 2011-12 stood at $8.9 billion.

France was the ninth largest investor in India in 2012. India is the 13th largest investor in France.

More than 800 French companies have their representative offices in India while over 100 Indian companies are present in France.

Many defence agreements are also in the pipeline, the spokesperson said.

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