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PM Modi Lands In Paris, Rafale Jets, Bastille Day Celebrations In Focus

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Paris on a two-day visit that will firm up crucial defense deals and deepen the India-France strategic ties. PM Modi will join the Bastille Day celebrations on Friday as the Guest of Honour.

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.

PM Modi’s visit to France will focus on strengthening India-France ties in domains like defense 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 of both the countries.

PM Modi will meet Gerad Larcher, the President of the Senate, and French Prime Minister Elisabeth Bornet. 

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PM Modi’s schedule for the day

And, around 11 PM Indian time, PM Modi will address an Indian community event at the iconic La Seine Musicale. Later, he is invited to the private dinner hosted by the French President at his residence.

Tomorrow, the Bastille Day celebrations will be followed by bilateral talks. A range of topics including cooperation in security, technology, counterterrorism, cybersecurity, climate change, and space is on the main agenda. 

PM Modi said before departing for France, he would hold wide-ranging discussions with  President Emmanuel Macron to take forward the time-tested partnership.  “Rooted in deep trust and commitment, our two countries cooperate closely across various domains including defense, space, civil nuclear, blue economy, trade, investment, education, culture, and people-to-people ties,” PM Modi said in a statement.

A few big-ticket announcements like the acquisition of another 26 Rafale jets and three Scorpene submarines are also expected in the meeting. The Defence Acquisition Committee headed by Union defense minister Rajnath Singh has cleared the process and negotiations are likely to follow.

A 269-member contingent of the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force will march alongside their French counterparts at the grand parade. The alliance between the two armies goes 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 India conducted nuclear tests in 1998 and went on to become one of the staunchest defense partners. Over the years, India has replaced its aging Russian fleet with French Mirages, Rafales, and Scorpenes.

Following France, PM Modi will visit the United Arab Emirates and meet President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

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