Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India has landed in France for a two-day visit.
Ahead of his departure to the European country, Modi disclosed that he was looking forward to holding wide-ranging discussions on taking forward a “longstanding and time-tested partnership.”
Modi arrived in Paris on Thursday, July 13, 2023 and was welcomed at Orly airport near Paris by French Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne. A ceremonial welcome and Guard of honour were accorded to him upon his arrival.
Modi also interacted with children and members of the Indian diaspora on his arrival at the hotel in Paris. Enthusiastic members of the Indian community who were waiting outside his hotel chanted ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ as they met the Prime Minister.
“A warm welcome by the Indian diaspora in Paris! Across the world, our diaspora has made a mark for themselves and are admired for their diligence and hardworking nature,” Modi said.
The Indian Prime Minister is in France at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron, who has made him a guest of honour at Bastille Day celebrations in the capital.
India will be part of a military parade on Friday, July 14, 2023. A 269-member Indian tri-services contingent will participate. Three Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will also join the flypast on the occasion along with French jets.
In his first engagement in France, Modi had a “productive meeting” with Senate President, Gerard Larcher and the two leaders deliberated on a range of issues of mutual interest and agreed to work together to deepen India-France cooperation in a number of areas, the Prime Minister’s Office divulged.
Separately, Modi met Prime Minister Borne. The leaders reviewed various facets of India-France partnership as well as discussed measures to further strengthen the ties between both the countries,” the Prime Minister’s Office added.
Later, Modi is to attend a lavish dinner at the Louvre Museum with Macron.
From Paris, Modi is scheduled to travel to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for an official visit on July 15, 2023.
India Approves Procurement Of 26 Rafale Fighter Aircrafts From France
Also on Thursday, the Indian body in charge of approving military acquisition endorsed the procurement of 26 Rafale fighter aircrafts from France.
India’s defence ministry added that the Defence Acquisition Council also gave an initial approval to the purchase of three additional Scorpene-class submarines.
India has been purchasing French military equipment for decades, and the new deals are reportedly worth about $10bn
Indian security experts said that defence acquisitions allow New Delhi to diversify its military hardware partners and reduce its dependency on old Russian military equipment.
This comes as France’s parliament on Thursday approved a multi-billion-euro boost to military spending through the rest of this decade.
The money would modernize France’s nuclear arsenal, augment intelligence spending and develop more remote-controlled weapons.
Macron has argued the boost was needed to ensure “our freedom, our security, our prosperity, our place in the world.”
The new military plan includes doubling the number of military reservists and reinforcing cyberdefense, as well as increasing weapons production capacity both to help Ukraine and to keep the French military adequately supplied.
Meanwhile, from 2018 to 2022, France emerged as India’s second largest arms supplier, accounting for 29 percent of imports, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.