Paris: India and France on Saturday agreed to further deepen their cooperation to tackle the challenge posed by terrorism and extremism as Prime Minister Narendra Modi met newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron.

Speaking at a joint press event after holding wide-ranging talks, the two leaders voiced concern over the growing threat of terrorism worldwide. “Terrorism is one of the biggest challenges the world is facing today," Modi said, adding that France understands the threat posed by the menace. He said terrorism is visible and it affects entire world, including France and India. “World needs to unite to defeat the menace of terrorism," Modi said. Macron said that the issues of tackling terrorism was discussed at length during his talks with Modi and France fully supports India’s fight against terrorism.

The two countries agreed to fight terrorism in all its forms, he added. Modi said India and France enjoy deep-rooted ties and the two nations have been working together for a very long time, bilaterally and multilaterally. “Be it trade and technology, innovation and investment, energy, education and enterprise, we want to give a boost to India-France ties," the prime minister said. He also expressed interest in improving the cultural relations between India and France. Modi said several Indians fought in both world wars for world peace. Macron thanked Indian soldiers for their sacrifices for France’s freedom during the wars.

Modi invited Macron to India. Macron accepted the invitation and said he will be travelling to India by the end of the year and the two sides will convene a meeting of the world solar alliance. Earlier, Macron greeted Modi with a bear hug in the courtyard of the presidential Elysee Palace when he arrived for the meeting and working lunch. France is India’s ninth-largest investment partner. France is also a key partner in India’s development initiatives in areas like defence, space, nuclear and renewable energy, urban development and railways.

Modi had also called up Macron to congratulate him on his poll victory and said he looked forward to work with him to further deepen the bilateral ties. The 39-year-old Macron created history last month by becoming the youngest president of France. Modi arrived in France from Russia, where he held talks with President Vladimir Putin and attended an international economic forum.

Before Russia, Modi also visited Germany and Spain.

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