PM Narendra Modi Welcomes French President Francois Hollande

The iconic Rock Garden in Chandigarh on Sunday (January 24) hosted two high-profile visitors as Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined French President Francois Hollande for a tour of the place housing sculptures made from industrial and household waste. Hollande arrived here this afternoon as he began his three-day visit to India during which, among other things, he will be attending the Republic Day function as Chief Guest. Modi reached Chandigarh — the city designed by French architect Le Corbusier — around 80 minutes after Hollande’s arrival here at 1 PM. Upon meeting, the two leaders shook hands and hugged each other even as traditional Punjabi folk dance, ‘Giddha’, was performed to welcome them. Thereafter, they went straight to Rock Garden, the celebrated creation of Nek Chand, a road inspector with the Chandigarh Administration, which was fashioned using wasteitems. The French President took keen interest in viewing the artefacts made from household and industrial waste and other material and also sought details about the artworks, which feature animal and human sculptures made out of bangles, ceramic tiles, bathroom fittings, etc. On a bright and cheerful morning, those visiting Rock Garden along with the two leaders took photos and selfies on their mobile phones even as Modi and Hollande went around the place.A tight security cover was in place with armed personnel keeping a close vigil as the high-profile visitors spent about 20 minutes at the Rock Garden. Among those who accompanied Modi was NSA Ajit Doval. The prime minister wore a sky-blue jacket with a brown- coloured shawl while Hollande was in a dark suit. After visiting the Rock Garden, the duo proceeded to the adjacent Capitol Complex, which includes the ‘Open Hand Monument’ besides the Secretariats, High Court and Legislative Assembly of Punjab and Haryana, designed by Le Corbusier.Elaborate security has been put in place in the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, which is hosting a foreign president for the first time. Apart from personnel from Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, central paramilitary forces, including ITBP, have also been deployed.

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