5 Dec : Ahead of their talks on key issues, including civil nuclear cooperation and terrorism, PM Manmohan Singh on Sunday hosted a private dinner for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni at his residence in New Delhi tonight.
Besides the Prime Minister and his wife Gursharan Kaur, the limited guest list included UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and some of the senior Cabinet Ministers.
Earlier, Sarkozy flew in from a overnight stay at Agra where he visited the Taj Mahal and the Fatehpur Sikri, which is about 30 km away from the city.
Presently on a four-day trip to the country, Sarkozy arrived at Bangalore on Saturday and visited ISRO.
Immediately after his arrival, Sarkozy made remarks backing India’s bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council as well as membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
During the official talks tomorrow, Sarkozy is expected to raise the issues relating to the civil nuclear liability legislation with the French side demanding legal security for the nuclear suppliers.
Apart from the civil nuclear cooperation, the two leaders are likely to discuss a host of issues, including terrorism.
Sarkozy has come to India hoping to take back a mega nuclear deal and reinvigorate ties in key areas like space technology.
Sarkozy’s support to India for the NSG entry comes nearly a month after US President Barack Obama supported New Delhi’s full membership in multilateral groupings like the NSG, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MCTR), the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.(ST-05/12)
Sarkozy, Bruni spend a quiet morning in Agra
After being enamoured by the Taj Mahal, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his glamorous wife Carla Bruni on Sunday chose to spend a quiet morning relaxing at a luxurious hotel in Agra, which presents a magnificent view of the 17th century Mughal monument.
Though earlier the French couple were due to visit the monument of love Sunday morning after spending the night at the Amarvilas hotel, they decided to sneak out Saturday evening itself to view the Taj at dusk and stayed there for an hour.
55-year-old Sarkozy and Bruni, 42, who got married two years ago, are also set to go to the famous Fatehpur Sikri– the first planned city built by Emperor Akbar, about 40 kms from Agra, showcasing Mughal architecture.
Later, they will leave for Delhi to attend a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
While the Taj was closed down for the public at 9:45 AM on Sunday as per previous schedule of the first French couple, it was thrown open again within 45 minutes once the police was informed they were not going to the monument for a second time.
Sarkozy spent the time in the heavily guarded hotel by going to the gym and jogging in the lawns.