While there was a strong strategic and economic dimension of India’s ties with France evident from Macron’s India visit, there was a clear emphasis on the “Soft Power” dimension which has been a strong bond between both countries.
Tridivesh Singh Maini, Assistant Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who was the Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day Parade this year, first landed in Rajasthan capital Jaipur on January 25, 2024. In 2016, then French President Francois Hollande – who also happened to be the Chief Guest – landed at Chandigarh (designed by Swiss French architect Le Corbusier) – capital of Punjab and Haryana.
Macron’s roadshow in Jaipur along with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi predictably drew attention. The Indian PM and French President visited several sites – Hawa Mahal and Amer Fort – and the rich heritage of Rajasthan along with its arts and crafts were showcased. It would be pertinent to point out that the state of Rajasthan receives several French tourists every year.
Agreements signed during Macron’s visit to India and discussions pertaining to global issues
A gamut of agreements between India and France were signed during Macron’s visit. In the sphere of defence, some of the highlights of the visit were – an agreement for a road map pertaining to defence cooperation for defence production, as well as important agreements for furthering space cooperation. Apart from this, agreements were signed between Airbus and Tata for an assembly line for H125 helicopters in India.
Agreements seeking to strengthen cooperation in areas including renewable energy, health, agriculture and joint research were also inked. India and France also announced that 2026 would be the year of India-France innovation.
Published in: DNA
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