Chandigarh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed French President Francois Hollande at Chandigarh’s popular Rock Garden on Sunday afternoon.
Modi and Hollande greeted each other with a warm handshake and a hug on a wintry afternoon.
Both leaders took a round of a section of the Rock Garden which has been created entirely from waste material by its founder, Nek Chand.
They then proceeded towards the Capital Complex and will visit the Government Museum and Art Gallery later in the day.
The French president arrived here on Sunday on a three-day visit to India. He will be the chief guest at the 67th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Hollande was received earlier at the Chandigarh airport by Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher, besides senior officers.
“A warm welcome to French President Hollande. We are honoured and delighted to have him as chief guest for Republic Day celebrations,” Modi tweeted.
“Hollande and I will meet in Chandigarh and Delhi,” PM Modi said. “We will build on the ground covered during our previous interactions,” he added.
Hollande was given a colourful welcome at the airport by traditional ‘Gidda’ and ‘Bhangra’ dancers of Punjab.
The French president headed from the airport to Hotel Taj, where he will stay during his five-hour stopover in the city.
Chandigarh was put under maximum security cover ahead of the arrival of the French president.
Hollande and Modi will meet and address CEOs of French and Indian companies at a business summit to be held here later during the day.