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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Honored At Bastille Day Parade, Strengthening Defense Ties

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Bastille Day

(CTN NEWS) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was bestowed with a remarkable tribute from France on Friday when he was invited as the guest of honor at the Bastille Day military parade.

This visit also solidified significant defense agreements between the two nations.

In the company of President Emmanuel Macron, Modi witnessed the captivating sight of French and Indian soldiers parading along the Champs-Elysees, a majestic avenue adorned with trees, in Paris.

Bastille Day Parade Showcases Rafale Jets Acquired by India in 2015

Adding to the grandeur of the occasion, the fly-past over the iconic Arc de Triomphe featured the inclusion of the Rafale fighter jets, which India had acquired from France in 2015.

The national festivities coincide with a sensitive period for Macron, who faced some disapproval from sections of the public as he traveled down the Champs-Elysees in a military vehicle.

His choice to increase the retirement age led to prolonged protests earlier this year and has had a negative impact on his approval ratings.

Modi’s visit to Paris commenced on Thursday with a two-day agenda that included a prestigious recognition: the Legion of Honour, the highest accolade in France.

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Macron Recognizes India’s Historical Significance and Strategic Partnership in Speech

In a speech delivered late on Thursday, Macron acknowledged India’s prominent position in world history, emphasizing its indispensable role in shaping our collective future.

He further highlighted India’s significance as both a strategic partner and a trusted friend to France.

In a move that strengthens defense cooperation between India and France, New Delhi has recently granted preliminary approval to acquire an additional 26 Rafale jets for its navy, along with three Scorpene class submarines.

This development is significant as both nations actively seek alliances in the Indo-Pacific region.

While specific negotiations are still underway, a reliable source has estimated the overall value of these acquisitions to be approximately 800 billion rupees ($9.75 billion).

However, it should be noted that the final figures are subject to further discussions and agreements between the parties involved.

For several decades, France has maintained a strong partnership with India, making it one of India’s closest allies in Europe.

Notably, France stood apart from other Western nations by refraining from imposing sanctions on India after its nuclear tests in 1998.

India’s Reliance on French Fighter Jets and the Need for Recent Defense Deals

Prior to acquiring Dassault Aviation’s Rafale jets, India purchased Mirage aircraft in the 1980s, which still form a significant part of the Indian Air Force with two squadrons.

Due to the aging fleet of Russian-made planes, challenges in maintenance support from Moscow, and delays in India’s indigenous manufacturing plans, the recent defense deals with France have become necessary.

Later in the day, Macron will welcome Modi at the Elysee Palace for discussions followed by a state banquet at the Louvre Museum, showcasing the significance of the visit.

However, Modi’s visit has faced criticism from human rights organizations, expressing concerns over the perceived authoritarian nature of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and allegations of discrimination against minorities.

The French Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (LDH), a human rights group, voiced their disapproval on Twitter, stating that Macron’s red carpet treatment of Modi disregards democratic values and raises concerns about India’s authoritarian shift.

For France, the strategic partnership with India holds immense importance as it seeks to strengthen its alliance network in the Indo-Pacific region.

This is particularly crucial after Australia’s decision to cancel a major submarine contract with France and join the AUKUS alliance alongside Britain and the United States.

Both India and France, including their respective island territories, have significant interests in the Indian Ocean and share concerns about China’s growing assertiveness in the region.

Macron has reserved the privilege of inviting only a few global leaders to witness the Bastille Day military parade.

In 2017, he extended the invitation to Donald Trump, who was so impressed by the French spectacle that he proposed a similar parade honoring American troops.

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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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