AFP, Friday 5 May 2023
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join President Emmanuel Macron in Paris for France’s Bastille Day military parade on July 14, the two countries said in a joint statement Friday.
File Photo: French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet before a working lunch on the sidelines of the G20Summit in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on November 16, 2022. AFP
Following in the footsteps of other world leaders wooed by Macron such as former US president Donald Trump, the gesture towards Modi and India comes as France looks to shore up alliances in the Indo-Pacific region.
Modi’s presence — and Indian forces’ participation in the parade — would mark “a new phase in the strategic partnership between France and India,” Macron’s Elysee Palace office said.
The two nations would “set new objectives for strategic, cultural, scientific, academic and economic cooperation, including in a large number of industrial sectors,” it added.
Like the US and other Western nations, France sees developments in the Indo-Pacific as crucial to the future geopolitical balance of power and is stepping up engagement in the region.
But the path has not been without slip-ups, as last month when Macron raised hackles with a state visit to China seen by many allies as insufficiently critical of President Xi Jinping and his ambition to take control of Taiwan.
Wider Western efforts to draw India to their side have also struggled, with Modi’s government seizing the opportunity of sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine to buy up cut-price Russian oil.
France and India nevertheless have “a shared vision of peace and security, especially in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific region, and defend the objectives and principles of the United Nations Charter,” the Elysee said.
India has also been a customer for French arms in recent years, including Dassault’s Rafale fighter jets.
This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse (AFP).