What’s On Emmanuel Macron’s Agenda As He Visits India For Republic Day Parade

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What's On Macron's Agenda As He Visits India For Republic Day Parade

France eyes lucrative deals with India, the world’s fifth-biggest economy. (File)

President Emmanuel Macron arrives as the guest of honour in India on Thursday with a sumptuous palace feast and colourful military parade, as France eyes lucrative deals with the world’s fifth-biggest economy.

Macron will be offered a red carpet welcome by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with dinner in a 19th-century maharaja’s palace, and as chief guest at a military march past with massed ranks of tanks, dancing troupes, camel cavalry and a fighter jet fly-past.

The Foreign Ministry says New Delhi and Paris are “strategic partners”, while the French presidency says the trip will “consolidate and deepen diplomatic and economic relations”.

Despite differences over the war in Ukraine and close ties with Moscow, western democracies are courting New Delhi as a military and economic counterweight to China.

France hopes to build on its military contracts after the Defence Ministry purchased French-made Rafale fighter jets and Scorpene-class submarines in multibillion-dollar deals.

Macron — who, according to Indian media, is coming after US President Joe Biden was unable to take up an invite — is also hoping France can sell six EPR nuclear reactors.

‘Peace and security’

PM Modi was guest of honour at France’s annual Bastille Day celebrations last July, and Macron is set to receive a similar welcome.

The French president, who was in India for the G20 summit in September, travels first to Jaipur in Rajasthan state for dinner with PM Modi at the Rambagh Palace, a luxury hotel.

Paris and New Delhi collaborate on space and satellite technology, and the French delegation includes astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

The visit includes a stop at Jaipur’s 18th-century Jantar Mantar astronomical observation site.

On Friday, Macron will watch a military parade in New Delhi for Republic Day, the 75th anniversary of India’s constitution.

Just as Indian soldiers marched down the streets of Paris in 2023, a French contingent will join the military spectacle in New Delhi, as French-built jets roar overhead.

India is “a key partner in contributing to international peace and security”, the French presidency said ahead of the visit.

Last year Macron visited neighbouring Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and also took a Pacific trip aimed at “recommitting” France to the wider Asia-Pacific region.

Macron is also slated to visit a Muslim Sufi shrine in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin West neighbourhood during his visit.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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