Slew of pacts, strategy to students, 25-yr plan as PM heads to Paris


A 25-YEAR vision statement for India-France bilateral ties, a private dinner at the Elysee Palace, guest of honour at the Bastille Day parade, and a state banquet at the Louvre Museum — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to Paris later this week is high on both symbolism and substance.

Besides the vision document, sources said ambitious outcomes are expected on defence, space, geo-strategy, infrastructure, energy, climate action, museology, student mobility, people to people, sports, culture. Separate joint statements are expected on Indo-Pacific, as well as on the strategic pillar.

While French President Emmanuel Macron will host Modi at the Elysee Palace for a private dinner on July 13, he is also expected to host a state banquet at the Louvre Museum the next day. Sources said Macron may also take Modi for a tour of the museum.

Sources said that since Modi’s visit coincides with the 25th anniversary of the India–France strategic partnership, and France is a key strategic partner for India, the vision statement will be an opportunity to chart the course for the next 25 years, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of India’s independence in 2047.

On July 14, Modi will be guest of honour at the Bastille Day celebrations, and a tri-services contingent from India, including the IAF’s Rafale aircraft, will participate in the parade.

The Bastille Day parade is the highlight of the Bastille Day celebrations, and is akin to India’s Republic Day parade. However, it is not common to invite foreign leaders as guest of honour – the last time was in 2017, when then US President Donald Trump was invited. Even rarer is to include foreign marching contingents and foreign aircraft in the parade.

Sources said that since Modi and Macron share a good personal chemistry, the French President will be making special gestures which include multiple meetings, particularly a private dinner and joint meeting with CEOs. Hosting the state banquet at the Louvre Museum on Bastille Day is part of the special gestures.

Sources said Modi is scheduled to interact with the entire political leadership of France, including Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, and the presidents of the Senate (Upper House) and National Assembly (Lower House).

“There will be strong focus on trade and economy with a CEO forum comprising big names from Indian and French sides… close collaboration not just on bilateral issues but also on what the two countries can do on global issues is expected,” sources said.


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