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Asia-Pacific

Macron to meet India's Modi Saturday

media Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi following talks and the signing of agreements with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Tobias Schwarz/ AFP

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, the Elysée presidential palace announced Friday. Modi toured Europe this week and is to meet US President Donald Trump at the end of the month.

Macron and Modi will meet each other face to face and then have a working lunch, an official statement said.

Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday during the International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg.

Moscow, which was a close Indian ally during the Cold War, hopes to increase its trade with New Delhi, and the two countries hope to raise bilateral trade from seven billion euros at present to 30 billion euros in five years' time.

Fighter jets and cars

France is already a major trading partner for India, which has turned to it and the US to broaden the scope of its arms sales.

Following a state visit to India by former president François Hollande last year, France's Dassault signed an eight-billion-euro contract to provide 36 Rafale jet fighters to the Indian air force.

Although it had taken more than four years to negotiate and was smaller than originally suggested, it was the largest-ever contract won by a French warplane maker.

The Thales and MBDA companies will also profit from the deal, providing electronics and missiles, respectively.

Dassault last month announced that it is now negotiating the sale of more Rafales with India.

Carmaker PSA, which withdrew from India in 1997, is to launch two joint enterprises to make cars and motors in an effort to break into an expanding market.

Modi to meet Trump

Modi, who is touting for foreign investment through his Make in India campaign, also met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday.

Modi is to meet Donald Trump on 26-27 June, an encounter that might prove interesting in the light of some the US president's remarks while he announced withdrawal from the Cop21 climate accord on Thursday.

Trump complained that “India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020" and accused New Delhi of trying to extract "billions and billions and billions" in foreign aid from the developed world to sign up for the deal.

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