It was his second State Visit to India.
On Sunday 24th January, President François Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Chandigarh, located in the heart of the city designed by French architect Le Corbusier. The two leaders were guided through a special exhibition by Dr Mukesh Singh, president of the Society of Archaeological and Anthropological Research of Chandigarh, and Dr Anne Dambricourt Malasse, palaeo-anthropologist, department of prehistory, National Museum of Natural History, Paris.
The two Leaders viewed the displays of archaeological findings from the foothills of the Himalayas which suggest human activity possibly dating back to 2.6 million years ago, making them among the oldest known remnants of human existence. This significant discovery is the result of seven years of extensive research and collaboration between the Prehistory Department of the National Museum of Natural History of France and the Society of Archaeological and Anthropological Research of Chandigarh undertaken under the auspices of an “Agreement of Collaboration between Society for Archaeological & Anthropological Research, India and French National Museum of Natural History”.
The archaeological discovery comprises about 1500 fossil finds, including 200 quartzite tools collected from several locations spread over 50 acres of area in Masol region near Chandigarh. The research work relating to this archaeological discovery is being published in the form of articles in the Palevol Review.
“Visit to the Government museum – an example of Indo-French collaboration in historical & archaeological work,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.
The Prime Minister and President Hollande congratulated the Indo-French team for their joint research work leading to this discovery. They underlined that this example of successful bilateral collaboration illustrated the long-standing cultural ties and enduring collaboration between India and France in rediscovering, preserving and promoting our shared cultural heritage. They hoped that such discoveries would lend further momentum for more joint endeavours in the future.
On Monday 25th January, several MoUs were signed in Delhi in the field of Space Cooperation, Science & Technology as well as Academic and Scientific cooperation.
In the field of higher education, in which hundreds of agreements between French and Indian institutions already exist, the French President and Indian Prime Minsiter welcomed:
(i) The agreement signed between the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Pune and the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon.
(ii) The agreement signed between the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai and French CNRS/Telecom Bretagne/Université de Bretagne occidentale/Université de Bretagne Sud/ENSTA Bretagne/ENI Bretagne.
(iii) The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for sponsored Ph.D. Fellowships signed between Thales and Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai.
Recalling the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Indo-French space cooperation in 2015, the leaders welcomed the signing of two Implementing Arrangements between their Space Agencies for cooperation in definition studies on a future joint Thermal Infrared Earth Observation mission and hosting of the French instrument for data collection on India’s Oceasnsat-3 satellite. The Leaders expressed confidence that these missions would contribute significantly to the monitoring of the environment, weather, water resources and coastal zones and further strengthen the partnership between the two countries. They also welcomed the announcement of collaboration through the participation of the Centre National d’études spatiales (CNES) in future space and planetary exploration missions of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The Leaders recognized with satisfaction, the role played by the Indo-French Centre for Promotion of Advance Research (CEFIPRA) over the last 28 years in promoting collaboration between the scientific communities of the two countries across the knowledge innovation chain. They encouraged CEFIPRA to expand its role by implementing bilateral programmes in partnership with various scientific agencies and industries, both in France and India.
The leaders also welcomed the establishment of a Ministerial-level Joint S&T Committee to foster even closer Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation through multi-stakeholder participation from both countries.
The leaders expressed their satisfaction on the progress achieved between the Indian and French partners involved in setting up the future Institute of Marine Biology and Biotechnology.
Read the entire India-France Joint Statement on the occasion of the visit of French President Francois Hollande to India from 24 – 26 January 2016:
Read the press articles here: https://frenchscienceindia.org/index.php/news-events/in-the-press