Hollande Begins India Visit

Hollande Begins India VisitHollande Begins India Visit

French President Francois Hollande began a three-day visit to India on Sunday to boost a multibillion-dollar deal for France’s Rafale combat aircraft and work for closer cooperation on counterterrorism and clean energy.

Hollande landed in the northern city of Chandigarh, where he was greeted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AFP reported. In Chandigarh, Hollande and French business leaders meet with Indian counterparts to boost bilateral trade, which in 2014 stood at $8.6 billion. New Delhi is also trying to encourage French companies to tap into India's economic boom.

Hollande is accompanied by a high-profile delegation including the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, economy and culture and dozens of top corporate leaders. High on the agenda of Hollande’s visit is India's desire to purchase 36 Rafale combat planes for its air force, which Modi had announced during a visit to Paris in April, touching off several rounds of negotiations over pricing, offsets and servicing.