Jaipur, Jan 25 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday held wide-ranging talks at a 19th century palace that showcases Jaipur's royal heritage to further consolidate bilateral strategic engagement.
The talks took place hours after the French president was accorded a red-carpet welcome in the Pink City that was followed by a Modi-Macron roadshow from the astronomical observation site of Jantar Mantar to the iconic Hawa Mahal.
Macron also visited the grand Amber Fort situated on the Aravalli range on the outskirts of Jaipur.
Macron will be the chief guest at Friday's Republic Day celebrations at the Kartavya Path, the ceremonial boulevard in the heart of the national capital.
Modi was the guest of honour at the prestigious Bastille Day Parade in Paris in July last.
Ahead of the talks between the two leaders at luxury hotel Taj Rambagh Palace, officials said the focus of the deliberations would be on shoring up cooperation in areas of defence and security, trade, climate change, nuclear energy and mobility of students and professionals.
The French president's two-day visit to India is taking place as top negotiators from the two sides are eyeing to seal two mega defence deals providing for India's procurement of 26 Rafale-M (marine version) fighter jets and three French designed Scorpene submarines.
The visit shows the "deep mutual trust" and "unwavering friendship" underpinning Indo-French ties, a French readout said on Wednesday.
"President Macron's visit will consolidate the ambitious renewal of the France-India strategic partnership that the two leaders decided on in Paris on July 14 through the 'Horizon 2047 Roadmap'," it said.
Horizon 2047 is a blueprint to significantly bolster the ties when the two sides will celebrate the centenary of diplomatic relations.
Modi also hosted a banquet for Macron and the members of his delegation at the hotel.
On Friday, Macron will witness the Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest.
A 95-member marching contingent and 33-member band contingent from France will take part in the parade.
Two Rafale fighter jets and an Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport aircraft of the French air force will also feature in the celebrations.
The French marching contingent from the French Foreign Legion features six Indians.
Macron will also attend the 'At Home' reception by President Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
He is scheduled to hold a meeting with Murmu at 7.10 pm. PTI MPB ZMN