* First meeting between Indian PM Modi, French President
* France, India reaffirm Paris climate deal commitments
* Plans to boost solar alliance, nuclear not mentioned
* Modi: protection of the mother planet is article of faith
(Adds Macron, Modi comments)
By Geert De Clercq
PARIS, June 3 French President Emmanuel Macron
and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday their
countries would cooperate in the fight against climate change,
just days after the U.S. withdrew from the Paris climate
Modi, whose country is the world's third-biggest emissions
generator, said in Russia on Friday that he would continue to
back the deal and Macron has said the 2015 Paris agreement is
irreversible despite U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to
"The protection of the environment and the mother planet is
an article of faith," Modi said at a joint news conference with
Macron in Paris.
The two leaders, who met for the first time, announced no
contracts or new initiatives.
"We are both convinced that our countries have to do a lot
for the ecological and environmental transition and the fight
against global warming," Macron said, adding that France would
go above and beyond its Paris agreement commitments.
He said he planned a visit to India before year-end for a
first summit of the International Solar Alliance, an initiative
launched by New Delhi and Paris during the Paris climate talks.
Macron said the alliance will lead to concrete measures in
favour of solar energy and commit the companies of both nations.
The alliance seeks to mobilise more than a trillion dollars
by 2030 and bring together well over 100 solar-rich countries to
deliver solar energy to some of the planet's poorest.
The two leaders said they had also discussed how to combat
terrorism and that they would work on concrete initiatives
before the end of the year to fight terrorism on the internet.
Ties between the two countries have grown in recent years
most notably in the defence sector with New Delhi ordering 36
French-made Rafale fighter jets.
The two countries are also in talks about nuclear power and
French utility EDF in Jan. 2016 signed a preliminary
pact to build six Areva-designed European Pressurised
Reactors (EPR) at Jaitapur, on India's western coast.
But last month, India's cabinet approved plans to build 10
reactors of indiginous Indian design and said that India will
not buy foreign reactors unless these reactors are already in
Four EPRs are under construction in France, Finland and
China, but all are years behind schedule and not a single EPR is
in operation yet.
(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Leigh Thomas and Ralph