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France President’s two-day business visit to India

New Delhi,Feb 14 () : France President Francois Holllande’s two-day visit to firm up the $12 billion sale of Rafale fighter jets and sort out the issues regarding the Jaitapur nuke plant might not materialise. The team that accompanies the President also hopes to facilitate exports to India.

After meeting Dr. Manmohan Singh, the French team will go to Mumbai to meet the top corporate bosses. Though both the countries deny that the visit has nothing to do with the buying of 126 jet fighters and a possible purchase of a second nuclear plant, instead terms it as renewal of the friendly ties between two countries.

India has taken the stance that the Jaitapur plant that has run into resistance from public needs to be sorted out and no further orders on nuke plant or on the jet fighters will take place. The nuclear plant is a $9.3 million contract which is in a limbo due to resistance in Western Maharashtra by farmers whose lands have to be acquired.

France President was in Mali to see his army on a mission to wipe out Islamists from the region. Rafale fighter jets are used to fight the Islamists and it is a showcase to show the effectiveness of the aircraft. As far as the N-plant is considered, the agitation after the Japanese N-reactor disaster has gained ground but India’s official stance is that the deal signed will be honoured but has raised the cost factor.

Indian railways and French company that operates the fast rail are to sign a pact. The French company will help set up a fast train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. In areas of education and culture as well in research and development the two countries are to sign pacts.

Yet another area  where France hopes to clinch a deal is to supply helicopters for civilian use. The big-ticket deals will have to wait even though this is the first time that French President Hollande after assuming office is visiting an Asian country.