PM Narendra Modi is in Paris on a two-day visit and will be the Guest of Honour on Bastille Day.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in France on a two-day visit that will firm up crucial defence deals and deepen the India-France strategic ties. Tomorrow, he will join the Bastille Day celebrations, where he is the Guest of Honour.
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PM Modi's visit will focus on strengthening India-France ties in various domains including defence and space, infrastructure and culture. The visit coincides with the 25th anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership and his invitation for the Bastille Day indicates a new high in the bilateral relations.
PM Modi visited the Senate, where he had extensive discussions with President of the Senate Gerrad Larcher. "Delighted to have met Mr. @gerard_larcher, President of the @Senat. Had productive exchanges on ways to deepen India-France cooperation across diverse sectors," PM Modi tweeted after the meeting.
He also had separate delegation-level meeting with French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who had given him a ceremonial welcome at the airport earlier today. "PM @narendramodi held fruitful talks with PM @elisabeth_borne in Paris. The leaders reviewed various facets of India-France partnership as well as discussed measures to further strengthen the ties between both the countries," tweeted the Prime Minister's Office.
Later in the evening, addressing an event by expat Indians at La Seine Musicale in Paris, PM Modi said "a new world order is emerging" – one where India will "not let any opportunity pass". His day will conclude with a private dinner hosted by the French President at his residence.
"India and France have agreed to use UPI in France. In the coming days, it will begin from the Eiffel Tower, which means Indian tourists will now be able to pay in rupees," PM Modi further said, referring to the Unified Payments System, or UPI, which is India's most successful payment system.
Tomorrow, the Bastille Day celebrations will be followed by bilateral talks. A wide range of topics is on agenda, including cooperation in the spheres of security, technology, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, climate change and space. The visit will conclude with a grand state banquet at the iconic Louvre Museum.
A few big-ticket announcements are expected during the visit, which includes the acquisition of another 26 Rafale jets and three Scorpene submarines. The Defence Acquisition Committee headed by Union defence minister Rajnath Singh has cleared the process and negotiations are likely to follow.
Bastille Day, also known as Fete Nationale Francaise, is celebrated on July 14 and commemorates the storming of the French prison in 1789, which marks the beginning of the French Revolution.
The Indian tri-services are going to be an integral part of tomorrow's celebration. A 269-member contingent of the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force will march alongside their French counterparts at the grand parade. The alliance between the two armies go back to World War 1.
France has been one of India's closest allies in Europe for decades. It was the only country not to impose sanctions on New Delhi after the nuclear tests of 1998 and went on to become one of India's staunchest defence partners. Over the years, India has replaced its aging Russian fleet with French Mirages, Rafales and Scorpenes.