Indo-French Diplomatic Bonhomie Blossoms as President Macron Joins Republic Day Celebrations
In a symbolic strengthening of diplomatic ties, French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Jaipur as the chief guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations in 2024. The visit is marked by a joint tour with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, encompassing several iconic heritage sites and a vibrant roadshow. This visit holds special significance as it marks the culmination of the 25th-anniversary celebrations of the India-France Strategic Partnership.
Jaipur, the Pink City, adorned itself with vibrant posters featuring both Prime Minister Modi and President Macron, welcoming the distinguished guest with warmth and grandeur.
The day commenced with President Macron’s visit to the iconic Amer Fort, where a cultural extravaganza unfolded, showcasing India’s rich heritage and cultural diversity. The fort served as the perfect backdrop for the celebration of Indo-French ties.
The itinerary further unfolded as Prime Minister Modi joined President Macron for a guided tour of Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The leaders then embarked on a joint roadshow, meandering through the streets from Jantar Mantar to Sanganeri gate, with a special stop at the renowned Hawa Mahal.
Hawa Mahal, an architectural gem, hosted a moment of cultural exchange as the dignitaries savored Jaipur’s special masala chai. Sources indicate that President Macron and Prime Minister Modi took the opportunity to explore and possibly acquire local handicraft items like blue pottery and exquisite inlay work. Notably, transactions were conducted seamlessly through BHIM UPI, reflecting a blend of tradition and modern digital modes of payment.
Adjacent to Hawa Mahal, handicraft kiosks showcased the artistic brilliance of Jaipur, offering the leaders an opportunity to browse and appreciate craftsmanship.
The day culminated in a private dinner at the opulent Rambag Palace, providing an intimate setting for informal discussions and strengthening bilateral relations.
Beyond the cultural exchange, the visit holds strategic importance as the Indian government and the French administration continue negotiations on multi-billion dollar defense deals. The proposed procurement of 26 Rafale fighter jets and three Scorpion submarines is expected to feature prominently in the bilateral talks, highlighting France’s role as India’s second-largest arms supplier.
President Macron’s acceptance of the last-minute Republic Day invite is seen as a testament to the robust and enduring ties between the two nations. This reciprocal gesture follows Prime Minister Modi’s role as the Guest of Honour at France’s Bastille Day celebrations in July of the previous year.
In a diplomatic outreach, New Delhi had reached out to Paris after US President Joe Biden conveyed his inability to attend the Republic Day celebrations. The visit of President Macron not only strengthens diplomatic ties but also symbolizes the mutual commitment of India and France to a shared future marked by collaboration and friendship on various fronts.