Sarkozy turns up on two-day India visit sans Carla
Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France has arrived early Friday in New Delhi on a visit of two-day tight packed schedule ahead of him to boost up the bilateral relationships.
The French President accompanied by a high-level delegation of six ministers and about 60 top executives of French multinational companies and media delegation was greeted at the Palam airport by Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma.
The French President is India’s Guest of Honour at the 59th Republic Day celebrations. The President has come without his Italian supermodel girl friend Carla Bruni, who had needlessly become the spotlight for protocol debate in India.
His official schedules commence with ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan from where he will go to Rajghat to lay a wreath on the monument of Mahatma Gandhi. Afterward he will return to Hotel Oberioe for a meeting with the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee followed by a crucial meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other delegates for the signing on a range of agreements.
The two leaders will hold talks on wide range of issues covering bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interests.
The focal point of the discussion will be nuclear and defence cooperation. Besides enhanced business relations and trade ties will be on prime focus.
Later on a delegation level discussion will take place followed by a press interaction, where a Joint Statement will be released and bilateral agreements signed.
The Indian Prime Minister will then hosts a lunch in his honour and then President Sarkozy will return to his hotel for meetings with Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition L K Advani.
The French President will address an Indo-French business conference in the evening and then will take dinner at the state banquet, which will be hosted by President Pratibha Patil.
After attending the Republic Day parade as the Guest of Honour on Saturday morning, Sarkozy will fly to Agra to take a glimpse of the Taj Mahal.
Sarkozy will depart for Paris by his special flight at 10 pm on the same day.
Earlier Sarkozy's visit as the chief guest of the Republic Day parade had put Indian government officials in tizzy after confusion over the status of his girlfriend, Carla Bruni.
As in 2004 France banned religious apparel in schools including the symbol of Sikhism ‘turban’, the Sikh community has planned a series of protest during the French President’s visit to India. Sikhs want Manmohan Singh to take up the turban issue with Sarkozy.
They have been demanding the withdrawal of the French legislation that has banned Sikhs from wearing turbans in France. Though no indication has come so far from Government of India but the French Ambassador after meeting a delegation of Sikh community has assured that France will consider the issue over the ban on turban.
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