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How is India & France navigating a world in crisis | India News

NEW DELHI: India is all set to welcome French President Emmanuel Macron for the 75th Republic day. Macron will have the honor of being the sixth French president to have been invited to New Delhi’s Republic Day celebrations, a feat of being the highest for any nation.
Emmanuel Macron was greeted by Prime Minister Modi, who is expected to win an unprecedented third term in office. PM Modi, known to receive world leaders with a mega roadshow, meeting the French president for the 6th time since May, greeted Macron in the same fashion in the Pink city of Jaipur.

French President Emmanuel Macron gets a glimpse of Rajasthani culture as he visits Amber Fort

“It is a matter of great pride for us that President Macron will take part in the Republic Day celebrations and his presence adds an important chapter to our shared history of friendship and collaboration, ”Prime Minister Modi in his greeting wrote on X.
Following a tour of a few iconic heritage sites on Thursday, the two world leaders are expected to have sat down for bilateral talks on crucial issues such as defence co-operation, maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, tensions in the Red Sea, business and non-traditional security threats like climate change and biodiversity loss.
The keenly watched, high-level interaction happens at a time when Macron’s visit is expected to give a push to the long pending India-EU trade-deal talks and on the other hand, when India & France along with UAE conducted joint air exercise “ desert knight” over the Arabian sea amid rising tensions.
Macron was shown India’s incredible spread of digital literacy through payments made by UPI transactions during his visit. France was one of the first countries to adopt UPI after PM Modi was treated to one of France’s most spectacular accolades as guest of honor at the Bastille Day military parade in Paris earlier last year – only the second Indian Prime Minister in nearly 16 years.

Watch: Macron enjoys ‘masala chai,’ uses UPI payment & receives Ayodhya replica from PM Modi

On PM Modi’ visit last year, Macron also expressed willingness to welcome 30, 000 Indian students within its higher institutions by 2030 – a number which currently stands at 10,000.
Being a major power within the EU, France was keen on including India in the European Union’s naval monitoring mission in the Persian Gulf and the Multinational Task Force based in Bahrain.
New Delhi and Paris, with an unbroken series of naval joint exercises for more than twenty years, have a logistics-sharing agreement that allows the two navies to draw replenishments from each other’s bases.
“France made India a foundational player in the EU foreign minister’s meeting to strategize the Indo-Pacific for Europe in composite terms, ” noted professor of international affairs, Dattesh Parulekar from Goa University to TOI.
Getting close to India is a good way for France to “establish itself as a powerful international player maintaining a strong presence in Asia, against a backdrop of Chinese competition. ”
And also might be in a way of “hitting back at the UK for the AUKUS snub,” said Professor Alma Pierre Bonnet from Science’s Po in France to TOI.
Paris also supports India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. The two countries are working together on creating a new engine for combat aircraft with agreements between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and France’s Safran Aircraft Engines.
Acknowledging the French media attention to this visit, Professor Alma said this strategic partnership is very important to France in a world that is unfolding to be complex with every given day.
Though being the second-largest supplier of arms next to only Russia, challenges still persist. The discussion between the two leaders is expected to have some breakthrough in the ongoing negotiations of procurement of Rafale jets and on the contracts for six nuclear power plants in Jaitapur, Maharashtra during the UPA, both of which are facing a brief impasse in terms of implementation.
A major card on PM Modi’s discussion with President Macron was expected to be on the 26 rafales and 3 jointly produced Scorpene class submarines, which the central government ahead of PM Modi’s visit to Paris last year had given initial approval but still remains to be finalised.
However, New Delhi and Paris had earlier indicated that the visit is more “ceremonial than substantial.” The visit “ not to be measured necessarily by deliverables but more by the pomp & symbolism,” said professor Dattesh Parulekar.
PM Modi-led negotiating team with Jawed Ashraf at the helm, India’s ambassador to France, being one among the few to receive extension in service will get a chance to exchange New Delhi’s voice and intention on potential cooperation on range of things like pharmaceutical, auto, space, energy and hydrogen to their French counterparts accompanying Macron on his trip.

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