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India, France likely to finalise roadmap for digital, cyber security cooperation

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: August 20, 2019  | 22:02 IST

New Delhi, Aug 20 (PTI) India and France are expected to finalise a roadmap to ensure closer cooperation in digital and cyber security sphere during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to Paris beginning Thursday. The two sides will also explore new areas of cooperation such as artificial intelligence, super computing and developing digital technology among others, informed sources said. However, the main focus during Modi's visit will be to further strengthen strategic ties in key sectors such as defence, nuclear energy and maritime security, they said. France is expected to look for supply of more Rafale fighter jets to India, the sources said. India and France signed an Euro 7.87-billion (Rs 59,000 crore approximately) deal on September 23, 2016 for 36 Rafale jets. The delivery of the aircraft will start from next month. The sources said ways to deepen cooperation to check flow of funds for terror activities will be another key area of discussion. Modi will pay a two-day State visit to France from August 22 during which he will hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron. From France, the prime minister will proceed for bilateral visits to the UAE and Bahrain, and will return to the French city of Biarritz on August 25 to attend the G7 Summit, where India has been invited as a partner country. Modi will arrive in France on Thursday evening and straightaway head for talks with Macron, who will also host a working dinner for the PM. The next day, Modi will meet French Prime Minister Edouard Charles Philippe, address an event of Indian community at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and also inaugurate a memorial in Nid D'Aigle for Indian victims of two tragic air crashes of Air India flights in 1950 and 1966. The two sides are likely to adopt a specific roadmap for cooperation in the areas of digital and cyber security besides deliberating on data protection, the sources said. The discussions are expected to broadly focus on reaffirming France and India as the key strategic and like-minded partners, strengthening of defence partnership, including future defence acquisitions, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry T S Tirumurti said on Monday. Strengthening bilateral engagement in key areas of strategic cooperation such as defence, nuclear energy, space, counterterrorism, maritime security, cyber security, International Solar Alliance, and joint development projects will also be deliberated upon, he said at a media briefing. The deliverables of the visit are expected to be in the sectors of skill development, space, information and technology and cyber. PTI MPB SMN SMN

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