French President Macron to grace India’s Republic Day celebrations

NEW DELHI | Updated: 22 December, 2023 5:32 pm IST
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NEW DELHI: French President Emmanuel Macron will attend India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26, marking the fifth instance of a French leader being honoured as the chief guest.

At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Macron will be visiting India as the Chief Guest for the 75th Republic Day celebrations.

India and France are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership. The decision to invite Macron emerged after the US reportedly declined due to President Biden’s focus on domestic affairs, including the state of the union address and his re-election prospects in 2024.

France’s history at India’s Republic Day celebrations includes appearances by Jacques Chirac (1976, 1998), Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (1980), Nicolas Sarkozy (2008), and François Hollande (2016). Macron’s presence would secure France’s lead as the nation with the most invitations to the event, tying previously with the UK at five invitations each.

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The growing alliance between India and France has seen significant developments, including Modi’s attendance at France’s Bastille Day celebrations earlier this year. Additionally, France recently proposed a deal to sell 26 Rafale-Marine combat jets to India, valued at an estimated ₹50,000 crore, intended to bolster the Indian Navy’s capabilities.

Macron’s proximity to Modi has fostered a close bilateral relationship, positioning France as one of India’s key European partners. Both nations engage in trilateral collaborations with other countries, emphasising areas such as maritime security and resilient supply chains.

Given France’s substantial naval presence in the Indian Ocean region, cooperation between Indian and French navies remains pivotal in ensuring regional stability. Their collaboration extends beyond maritime security, encompassing joint efforts on counter-terrorism and climate change initiatives within the United Nations.

The impending presence of Macron at India’s Republic Day celebrations underscores the strengthening strategic ties between the two nations across multiple fronts, from defence collaborations to broader diplomatic cooperation on global issues.

 

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