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India and France setting ‘bold and and ambitious goals’ in strategic partnership: PM Modi

PM Narendra Modi with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Friday evening (Image courtesy: MEA)

Emphasising that defence cooperation remains a strong pillar of India-France strategic relationship, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that both countries are setting “bold and ambitious goals” while preparing a 25-year roadmap to take the bilateral ties to a new high.

PM Modi held wide-ranging discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace after gracing the annual Bastille Day parade as a ‘Guest of Honour’ earlier in the day.

“We are celebrating 25 years of our strategic partnership. We are making a roadmap for the next 25 years based on the strong foundation of the previous 25 years. Bold and ambitious goals are being set for this. The people of India have taken the resolve to make ourselves a developed nation. In this journey, we see France as a natural partner,” said Prime Minister Modi while addressing the media along with Macron at the Elysee Palace late Friday evening, India time.

A day after India announced its decision to go ahead with the procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft from France that will significantly boost Indian Navy’s operational capabilities, PM Modi stated that defence ties have always been the basic foundation of relations between India and France.

“France is an important partner in Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Be it submarines or Indian naval ships, together we want to fulfill not just ours but also the requirements of other friendly countries,” said PM Modi.

He also revealed that an agreement has been reached to launch India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in France along with several other initiatives to increase bilateral cooperation, including green hydrogen, AI, renewable energy, semiconductors, cyber and digital technology.

PM Modi also met several CEOs and prominent personalities from France and later addressed the CEO Forum along with Macron.

In his meeting with Thomas Pesquet – a French aerospace engineer, pilot, European Space Agency astronaut and actor – Prime Minister shared India’s progress in the space sector, particularly in promoting startups and encouraging greater private sector participation.

PM Modi also met Leena Nair, Global CEO of Chanel, a French luxury fashion house. The discussions focused on ways to promote handicrafts, khadi and skill development of artisans in India. Prime Minister congratulated Nair for her success and invited Chanel to explore investment opportunities and collaboration potential in India.

PM Modi also met Charlotte Chopin, a renowned French yoga teacher and appreciated her ground-breaking work in the promotion of Yoga in France.

In his meeting over lunch with Yael Braun-Pivet, President of the French National Assembly, PM Modi highlighted the shared values of democracy, liberty, equality and fraternity and also discussed ways to further increase cooperation between the two Parliaments.

The French side expressed admiration for India’s vast electoral process. Discussions also covered various pillars of the strategic partnership including trade and economy, environment, technology and culture. They also exchanged views on regional and global issues.

The Macron government believes that, beyond symbols, PM Modi’s visit to Paris also has strong geopolitical significance considering that, since 1947, both countries have always stood by each other in good and bad times.

France considers itself an Indo-Pacific resident power and calls its partnership with India as a major pillar of its strategy in the region.

Both countries have a shared vision of peace and security, especially in Europe and the Indo-Pacific, and uphold the objectives and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which are also the basis of our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

bastille day pm modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron at the annual Bastille Day Parade in Paris on Friday (Image courtesy: MEA)

A day after he conferred Prime Minister Modi with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award, Macron called India an essential partner for all the major challenges of the 21st century. He also spotlighted that India, which this year has become the most populous country in the world, could be the world’s third largest economy by 2030.

“A giant in world history, with a decisive role to play in the future, a strategic partner, a friend. We are proud to welcome India as our guest of honour at the 14 July parade,” tweeted Macron as he welcomed PM Modi at the famed Champs-Elysees avenue.