Paris: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the friendship between India and France is unbreakable and the two nations have showed the strength on every stage.
Addressing the Indian community at Unesco Headquarters in Paris, Modi said India and France have a century-old friendship and asserted that he was dedicating "this day to friendship".
"The friendship between the two countries are not based on selfishness, it is based on liberty equality and fraternity," the Prime Minister said.
#WATCH Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Paris, France: Today in the 21st century we talk of INFRA. I would like to say that for me it is IN+FRA, which means the alliance between India and France, IN for India and FRA for France... pic.twitter.com/GGAwKBnOvw— ANI (@ANI) August 23, 2019
Modi inaugurated a memorial in the honour of the victims of two Air India crashes at the foothills of the Mont Blanc mountain in France in which several Indians, including Homi J Bhabha, regarded as the father of India's nuclear programme, were killed.
The memorial at Nid d'Aigle, at the foot of Mount Blanc, was dedicated to Bhabha and several other Indians who were among the passengers and crew of the two Air India planes that crashed in 1950 and 1966.
"In times of sorrow also India and France stand with each other. In the two air crashes we lost many Indian passengers including Homi Bhabha. Those who lost their lives, I pay tribute to them. This is an example of empathy the people of the two countries have for each other," Modi said addressing the Indian community at the UNESCO headquarters here after inaugurating the memorial through video-conferencing.
The death of Bhabha in the crash on Mount Blanc in the French Alps in January 1966 was considered a massive blow to India's scientific advancement. A total of 106 passengers and 11 crew died in the crash of Air India flight 101, which was named Kanchenjunga, on January 24, 1966.
The Kanchenjunga crashed in almost the same spot on Mount Blanc as an Air India flight 16 years before. On November 3, 1950, Air India flight 245 crashed on Mount Blanc, killing 48 passengers and crew.
The mortal remains of the crew and passengers the two Air India aircraft could never be recovered from the snow-covered mountain heights.
#WATCH PM Narendra Modi addresses Indian community in Paris, France: In dino Paris Ram main rum gaya hai, pujya Bapu ki nishra (shadow) mein sab log Ram ki bhakti main doobe hain... pic.twitter.com/uhrGyrJuTc— ANI (@ANI) August 23, 2019
Modi is in France as part of his three nation five-day visit scheduled between August 22 and 26. From France, he will travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain before returning to Paris for the G7 Summit.
(With inputs from agencies)