Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and French President Emmanuel Macron (L) shake hands as they make a joint press statement in New Delhi on March 10, 2018. (AFP / Ludovic MARIN)
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French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday said defense ties with India had reached a new high after the two nations signed a key security accord for the Indian Ocean to counter China's growing influence in the region.Modi, who welcomed Macron with a bear hug on his arrival Friday, said the accord was crucial as the Indian Ocean region would play a "very significant role" in the days to come.The $9.3-billion framework agreement for six nuclear reactors was signed during a visit to India in 2010 by then president Nicolas Sarkozy.Modi broke protocol to receive Macron at the airport, exchanging warm hugs and robust handshakes.Macron's visit comes after a somewhat misstep-laden visit to India by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.
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