In a historic participation, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi graced France’s Bastille Day Parade as the Guest of Honour, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. This year, India’s armed forces made a noteworthy contribution to the event, further accentuating the bond between the two nations. Recognizing the significance of France’s National Day, PM Modi acknowledged the enduring symbol of French resilience – the Storming of the Bastille Prison in 1789. The Bastille Day Parade, the centerpiece of the celebration, this year became a platform showcasing the strengthening ties between France and India.
PM Modi’s visit, however, goes beyond participating in the national festivities. He is also scheduled for delegation-level talks with President Macron and is to engage with prominent French and Indian business leaders. The meeting will culminate in a state banquet hosted by President Macron at the famed Louvre Museum, a testament to the growing diplomatic ties between the two nations.
The Indian Prime Minister’s official visit to France began with his arrival in Paris, where he met with French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne and the President of the French Senate, Gerard Larcher. The meetings revolved around deepening India-France cooperation on mutual interests. The visit also saw PM Modi being honored with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest civilian and military honour, bestowed upon him by President Macron at a private dinner at the Élysée Palace.
During an interaction with the Indian community in France, PM Modi underlined India’s role as the cradle of democracy and a beacon of diversity. He emphasized the transformation India is undergoing and highlighted the citizens’ crucial role in steering this change. This shift in India’s international standing and the impending new world order underscores PM Modi’s forward-looking policies that have cemented India’s position as a global superpower and one of the top five world economies.
In a significant stride towards enhancing India’s market presence, PM Modi announced the extension of India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) service in France. This landmark decision, reached between New Delhi and Paris, enables Indian tourists to transact in Indian Rupees using a mobile app. The launch of this service from the Eiffel Tower symbolizes the integration of Indian technology into the French market.
PM Modi also brought forth a major policy change benefiting Indian students pursuing their masters in France. The students will now be eligible for a five-year post-study work visa, extending from the previous two-year work visa. He highlighted the strong people-to-people connect as the bedrock of the India-France partnership, asserting that both nations are collaboratively addressing the challenges of the 21st century, thereby strengthening their strategic alliance.
Honoring the historic bond between the two nations, PM Modi remembered Indian soldiers martyred on French soil a century ago. He noted that the Punjab Regiment, which participated in the war in France, will join the National Day Parade. The commemorative event was succeeded by a private dinner hosted by President Macron in honour of PM Modi, signifying the deep ties between India and France.
This year marks the silver jubilee of the India-France Strategic Partnership. PM Modi’s visit signifies a crucial step towards charting the partnership’s course for the future, spanning strategic, cultural, scientific, academic, and economic cooperation. With the vision of strengthening the ties for the next 25 years, coinciding with India’s centenary of independence in 2047, India’s ties with France have been further strengthened.