This Article is From Jul 12, 2023

What To Expect From PM Modi's Upcoming France Trip

PM Modi France Visit: In a reception led by President Emmanuel Macron, PM Modi will meet the entire political leadership of France.

What To Expect From PM Modi's Upcoming France Trip

The Rafale fighter jets will be used on the INS Vikrant aircraft carrier, reports said. (File)

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to embark on a landmark visit to France this week, where he will be the guest of honour at Friday's Bastille Day celebrations - the country's Independence Day, which marks the beginning of the French Revolution more than 200 years ago. A major defence acquisition pact and an exhaustive bilateral engagement are expected to be highlights of the trip.

In a reception led by President Emmanuel Macron, PM Modi will meet the entire political leadership of France, including the French Prime Minister, the Presidents of the Senate (Upper House) and the national assembly (Lower House). A key focus of his visit will be trade and economy, with a CEO forum to be held with leading names from the two countries.

India, an important customer for French arms, including Dassault's Rafale fighter jets, is likely to extend its defence procurement from France during this visit. According to reports, PM Modi is expected to announce the purchase of an additional 26 Rafale jets for use on the INS Vikrant aircraft carrier. Further, three Scorpene-class submarines, built in collaboration with France, are also slated to augment India's naval capabilities.

The addition of these defence assets aims to modernise India's armed forces in light of potential future threats from its northern neighbour, China. India's defence cooperation with France will likely be a significant topic during PM Modi's meeting with Mr Macron.

However, it's not just economic and strategic interests at play during PM Modi's visit, which is said to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership. In a rare honour, an Indian military contingent comprising all three services will participate in the Bastille Day celebrations.

The French National Day, or Bastille Day, occupies a special place in the French consciousness as it commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison during the French Revolution in 1789. The Bastille Day parade is the highlight of the celebrations.

PM Modi's itinerary is also expected to leverage his warm personal chemistry with Mr Macron as the French leader will have multiple meetings with the Prime Minister, including a private dinner and joint meeting with CEOs besides the state banquet at the iconic Louvre Museum on Bastille Day. The trip will also see PM Modi engage with the Indian community in France.

The France trip comes on the heels of PM Modi's White House state visit, marking an era of intensifying engagement between India and Western powers.