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French President Arrives in India for Trade, Nuclear Talks


French President Jacques Chirac is in India on a visit aimed at strengthening trade ties with one of the world's fastest growing economies.

Mr. Chirac is accompanied by several ministers and many French business leaders. Sunday, he was meeting in New Delhi with business figures before a private dinner with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

During official meetings Monday, the two sides are expected to discuss cooperation on a civilian nuclear energy project. France is competing with the United States for a chance to provide civilian nuclear technology to India.

Mr. Chirac's visit comes during a growing controversy over the bid by Indian-based Mittal Steel to buy European steel giant Acelor, and a spat over a decommissioned aircraft carrier, the Clemenceau that was being sent to India for dismantling. The ship was ordered back to France after environmentalists said it contained toxic materials.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.