14 July : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh reached Paris on Monday as part of a five day visit to France and Egypt, during which he will appear as the Chief Guest at French National Day in Paris on Tuesday, becoming the first Indian leader to have such an exceptional honour.
Earlier, in a pre -departure statement issued by the PMO, the Prime Minister said that India and France enjoy a close and wide ranging strategic partnership.
“India and France enjoy a close and wide ranging strategic partnership. Our relations with France encompass a large number of areas and have served our national interests well,” Singh said in a departure statement.
“We would like to build upon our partnership in the areas of trade and investment, high technology, space, nuclear energy, defense, education, culture, tourism and scientific research and development,” Singh said.Dr. Singh will travel from Paris to Sharm-el Sheikh in Egypt on Tuesday for the 15th Non-aligned Summit.During this meet he would meet his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani with the hope of getting a categoric commitment that Mumbai attackers would be punished and cross-border terror stopped.
Singh said non-alignment has been the bedrock of India’s foreign policy since it was enunciated by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
“Non-alignment remains an article of faith for us,” he said, adding in the post-Cold War era, when the world was no longer divided into two military blocs, the NAM has a renewed role to play in the emerging world order.
Noting that the diversity and universality of the NAM offered the grouping a unique opportunity to address present day challenges, Singh said, “India will play its part in helping NAM to regain its moral high ground to address issues which are of direct concern and relevance to developing countries.”
The issues would range from sustainable development, climate change, food security, energy security, terrorism and reform of the architecture of international governance, he added.