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Updated January 20th, 2024 at 14:22 IST

French Prez Macron to grace India's 75th Republic Day with Rafales and Foreign Legion contingent

French Prez Macron, a six-time R-Day guest, brings air assets and troops, s, with his second state visit beginning in Jaipur, featuring a roadshow with PM Modi.

Reported by: Digital Desk
French President Macron, a six-time Republic Day guest, brings air assets and troops
French President Macron, a six-time Republic Day guest, brings air assets and troops | Image:ANI/PTI
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New Delhi: The upcoming Republic Day celebrations in India on January 26 are set to feature the participation of two French Rafale fighter jets, a French Multirole Tanker transport aircraft, and a 95-member contingent from the esteemed French Foreign Legion. Known for its elite training and global service under the French flag, the Legion might just add its distinguished touch to the celebration.

French Touch in India’s Republic days since 1976

French President Emmanuel Macron has been invited as the chief guest for India's Republic Day on January 26, a privilege reserved for nations with close bilateral ties. This will be the sixth instance of a French leader receiving this honour, with the first one dating back to 1976 when French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac attended.

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Adding to the intrigue, the involvement of French Air assets and a marching contingent this year echoes the 2016 historic moment when French Army soldiers became the first foreign military contingent to participate in India's Republic Day. This coincided with the visit of then-President Francois Hollande.

The French president's presence marks his second state visit to India, with the previous one occurring in 2018. Macron's two-day visit, starting from January 25, will commence in Jaipur, Rajasthan, where he will join a roadshow with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Anticipated Expectations: Scorpene Subs & Rafales for Navy

Accompanied by a high-level delegation, including CEOs, the visit anticipates significant announcements, particularly in the defence space, a key aspect of bilateral ties. Positive developments are expected in discussions about the Scorpène-class submarine and Rafale deals.

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The participation of French Air assets and military personnel in India's Republic Day is reciprocal, reminiscent of the Indian Air Force's Rafale jets and a tri-services contingent participating in the Bastille Day parade in Paris last year, where Prime Minister Modi was the guest of honour.

The close ties between India and France are evident in the frequent meetings between PM Modi and President Macron, with four gatherings in the last six months, including the Delhi G20 summit, the India-visited virtual summit, and discussions on the sidelines of the climate summit in Dubai. The upcoming Republic Day celebrations serve as a testament to the strengthening diplomatic relations between the two nations.

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Published January 20th, 2024 at 11:51 IST

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