Wednesday, April 17, 2024

French President Macron will be chief guest at Republic Day celebrations: MEA


New Delhi: French President Emmanuel Macron will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations here on January 26, making him the sixth leader from his country to grace the prestigious annual event.

Hours after the announcement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Macron said on X: “Thank you for your invitation, my dear friend @NarendraModi. India, on your Republic Day, I’ll be here to celebrate with you!” In his response, Modi said on the microblogging platform: “My Dear Friend President @EmmanuelMacron, we eagerly look forward to receiving you as the Chief Guest at the 75th Republic Day. We will also celebrate India-France strategic partnership and shared belief in democratic values. Bientot!” The MEA said Macron will be visiting India at Modi’s invitation.

India had invited US President Joe Biden to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations but he expressed his inability to travel to the country in January.

The reasons for Biden’s decision are believed to be influenced by the State of the Union address in late January or early February, his re-election bid and Washington’s increasing focus on the Hamas-Israel conflict.

French President Macron has been invited as the Republic Day chief guest, the people cited above said.

There is no official word on the invitation yet.

New Delhi’s invitation to Macron for the Republic Day celebrations comes amid a rapid upswing in ties between the two countries including in areas of defence and security, clean energy, trade and investment and new technologies.

In July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the Bastille Day parade, which is part of the French National Day celebrations, as the guest of honour.

In the same month, the defence ministry approved the purchase of 26 Rafale (marine) jets from France, primarily for deployment on board the indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. France has already responded to India’s initial tender for buying the jets.

The two sides are also expanding cooperation in the maritime domain including in the Indian Ocean Region.

The two strategic partners also expressed commitment to cooperate in the co-development and co-production of advanced defence technologies, including for the benefit of third countries.


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