France wants important partner India to play more critical global role

      French President Nicholas Sarkozy on Saturday described India as one of his country's most important partners, and urged it to play a more critical role on the international stage, including in the ongoing Group of Twenty (G-20) deliberations. Sarkozy conveyed this view to Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the fourth Group of Twenty summit being held here. He told Dr. Singh with France taking over the G-20 presidentship later this year, he was looking to India for greater cooperation in G-20. Recalling the twelve-year-old strategic partnership between India and France, Dr. Singh said he looked forward to President Sarkozy and French First Lady Carla Bruni's visit to India later this year. According to a government spokesman, both leaders discussed the outcomes of Sarkozy's visit to India. President Sarkozy recalled Dr. Singh's visit to Paris for the French National Day celebrations in July 2009, including the laudable step of sending a tri-services contingent to take part in a military parade. Sarkozy reiterated his country's support for India acquiring permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and New Delhi's efforts on the counter-terrorism efforts. On bilateral ties, the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including the status of France as India's largest trading partner among European Union countries.

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