French president in India to strengthen strategic ties

French President Francois Hollande has begun a three-day visit to India that could push a multibillion-dollar deal for combat airplanes and closer cooperation on counterterrorism and clean energy.

Hollande landed Sunday in the northern city of Chandigarh where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join him at official engagements.

Designed in the 1950s by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, Chandigarh is one of three places that France has pledged to help develop as so-called "smart cities" — with clean water supplies, efficient sewage disposal and public transportation.

In Chandigarh, Hollande and French business leaders will meet with Indian counterparts to boost bilateral trade, which in 2014 stood at $8.6 billion.

Hollande will travel to the Indian capital later Sunday and be a guest of honor on Tuesday at India's Republic Day parade.