15 July : Taking forward their strategic ties, India and France on Tuesday discussed cooperation in areas like atomic energy, defence and space as PM Manmohan Singh witnessed a “magnificent parade” as Chief Guest at the French National Day with President Nicolas Sarkozy.Singh, who became the first Indian leader to be the Chief Guest at the French celebrations, said this reflects the friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries and the cordial ties between their armed forces.
“India is one of the greatest democracies of the world,” Sarkozy said, adding India is a “major power” of the 21st century. “India’s involvement is essential in all major global matters.”
Their remarks follow an impressive military parade which was opened with a detachment of 400 soldiers from the three defence services of India, who were attired in ceremonial uniforms and marched to the soul stirring tunes of ‘Saare Jahan Se Achchha’and ‘Kadam Kadam Badhaye Jaa’.
“The magnificent parade we have witnessed dramatises its strength and dynamism of this great nation,” Singh said in after the event, which was held amid tight security and witnessed by Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni and other dignitaries.
After the parade, Sarkozy hosted a working lunch in the honour of Singh at the Elysee palace, who discussed with him cooperation in atomic energy, defence, space and other key areas.