Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thanked French President Emmanuel Macron and First Lady Brigitte Macron for hosting a private dinner for him at the Elysee Palace here.
Modi was accorded a red-carpet welcome as he arrived in Paris on a two-day visit on Thursday. He will join Macron for the French National Day celebrations on Friday as the Guest of Honour. "I thank President @EmmanuelMacron and Mrs. Macron for hosting me at the Élysée Palace this evening,” Modi said in a tweet and shared pictures of him with the Macrons at the palace, the official residence of the president of France.
Earlier, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted photographs of Modi’s arrival at the palace, saying, “A rendezvous with a close friend. PM @narendramodi warmly received by President @EmmanuelMacron for a private dinner at the historic Élysée Palace. An occasion for the two leaders to further strengthen their bonds of friendship and to cherish the deep-rooted ties.”
On Thursday evening, Modi addressed the Indian diaspora here and announced an agreement for the use of UPI in France, opening a huge new market for Indian innovation in cashless instant payment. In his nearly an hour-long speech to the enthusiastic crowd at the La Seine Musicale -- a performing arts centre on an island in the river Seine -- Modi outlined India's fast-paced development and asserted that while the world is moving towards a new order, India's strength and role is also changing very quickly.
Modi announced the opening of a new Indian consulate in Marseille in France and told the cheerful audience that Indian students doing masters in the European country will now get five-year-long post-study work visas. Noting that France is celebrating its national day, Modi said he has been to the country many a time but it was special this time, as he lauded its support to India and the strength of ties between the two countries, which mark the 25th anniversary of their strategic partnership.
Describing people-to-people connect as a key foundation of the India-France partnership, he also asked the diaspora members to invest in India, noting that global experts are recognising the country's attractiveness as an investment destination and the country is taking rapid strides in development.