French foreign minister in India
( AFP ) - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner began a two-day visit to India for high-level talks ahead of next month's visit by President Nicolas Sarkozy, the French embassy said.
Kouchner is lined up for talks with his counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, the powerful head of the ruling Congress party Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Diplomats said the talks will include discussions on civilian nuclear energy cooperation, with France negotiating a deal it hopes will position itself as a major supplier of atomic energy technology and fuel in the future.
Defence cooperation will also be on the agenda, after India's defence ministry cancelled a 600 million dollar contract with Eurocopter, a unit of European aerospace giant EADS, to supply 197 helicopters to the Indian army.
The visit will also "intensify our dialogue with India on global challenges, especially the environment and the fight against global warming, public health and the fight against emerging diseases," the French embassy said.