As the Chief Guest for India’s 75th Republic Day celebrations, French President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to arrive in Jaipur this afternoon amidst anticipation surrounding the announcement of a Defence Industrial Roadmap and a groundbreaking agreement on Defence Space Cooperation between the two close allies.
President Macron, leading a 44-member delegation that includes high-ranking ministers such as Stephane Sejourne for Foreign Affairs, Sebastien Lecomu for Defence, and the notable figure of Culture czarina Rachida Dati, is expected to touch down in Jaipur around 1:30 pm. The agenda includes a visit to the historical Amer Fort, followed by a joint roadshow with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, traversing through iconic landmarks like Hawa Mahal and the Old City of erstwhile Rajputana.
With the formidable presence of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Prime Minister Modi will play host to President Macron for a series of bilateral discussions, culminating in an exquisite dinner affair at the iconic Rambagh Palace. The meticulous arrangements made by the Modi government and the BJP State government reflect the grandeur and warmth extended to the visiting dignitaries.
The anticipated talks between the two leaders are poised to cover a wide spectrum of issues, including the security environment in the region, ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, concerns over religious radicalization and terrorism, and the evolving dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region. Notably, France’s decision to position India as a pivotal reference point in its Indo-Pacific strategy underscores the growing significance of the bilateral relationship in the geopolitical landscape.
Amidst the discussions, an announcement is expected regarding a defence industrial roadmap, aligning with Prime Minister Modi’s vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India). This strategic collaboration envisages French companies partnering with Indian counterparts to design, manufacture, and certify defence platforms within India, thereby fostering indigenous capabilities and generating employment opportunities for the country’s youth.
Furthermore, both nations are set to sign a letter of intent on Defence Space Cooperation, aimed at addressing the challenges posed by emerging powers in the space domain. Given the longstanding civilian space cooperation between India and France, this agreement marks a significant step towards enhancing bilateral collaboration in space technology and exploration.
Despite the Modi government maintaining discretion regarding the specifics of the visit, indications suggest ongoing discussions on various defence procurement projects, including the acquisition of Rafale-Maritime multi-role fighters and the collaboration for the production of advanced submarines. Additionally, plans for future construction of nuclear attack submarines in India with French support and joint ventures for naval surface combatants and submarines signify the depth and breadth of defence cooperation between the two nations.
Moreover, collaborative efforts between French engine manufacturer Safran and Indian counterparts for the production of Shakti engines and the development of advanced propulsion systems underscore the mutual commitment to technological advancement and innovation.
In essence, the visit of French President Macron to India marks a significant milestone in the bilateral relationship, reaffirming the strategic partnership between the two nations and laying the groundwork for enhanced cooperation across various domains, including defence, space, and technology. As India and France embark on this journey of collaboration and friendship, the prospects for mutual prosperity and advancement appear promising, heralding a new era of strategic alignment and shared prosperity.
The visit of French President Macron holds profound significance not only in the context of immediate bilateral ties but also in the broader geopolitical landscape. India and France share a long-standing history of cooperation, underpinned by mutual respect, shared values, and strategic alignment on key global issues.
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