India-France diplomatic talks set stage for Macron’s Republic Day visit

Highlighting the significant military cooperation, the Indian government approved the purchase of 26 naval variants of the Rafale combat jet from France, building on the earlier acquisition of 36 Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force.

In a diplomatic exchange underscoring the robust ties between India and France, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron’s diplomatic advisor, Emmanuel Bonne, on Friday. The meeting, taking place ahead of Macron’s scheduled visit to India to partake in the Republic Day celebrations, aimed at further solidifying bilateral relations.

Expressing satisfaction over the meeting, Jaishankar shared insights on the strong convergence of interests between India and France on multiple fronts. Jaishankar mentioned in a social media post that there were discussions about the robust convergence between India and France on various issues. He also conveyed that perspectives on global developments of mutual concern were exchanged during the conversation. Anticipating Macron’s State visit for Republic Day 2024, Jaishankar expressed eagerness for the upcoming diplomatic engagement.

Emmanuel Bonne’s visit to New Delhi is a part of the preparatory discussions leading up to Macron’s visit, where he is slated to be the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations on January 26. The invitation extended to Macron as the chief guest, following U.S. President Joe Biden’s unavailability due to a busy schedule, signifies the deepening strategic ties between India and France. This alliance spans various sectors, including defence, security, civilian nuclear cooperation, and emerging technologies.

Highlighting the significant military cooperation, the Indian government approved the purchase of 26 naval variants of the Rafale combat jet from France, building on the earlier acquisition of 36 Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force. This collaboration underscores the shared commitment to enhancing India’s defence capabilities and technological advancements.

With Macron’s visit on the horizon, expectations are high for the announcement of crucial agreements that will further strengthen the bilateral partnership. The discussions are likely to cover areas such as joint development of defence hardware and potential collaboration for supply to third countries, emphasizing the cooperative nature of the India-France strategic alliance.

In a separate development, Jaishankar extended congratulations to Stephane Sejourne, the newly appointed Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic. Acknowledging Sejourne’s role, Jaishankar expressed optimism about working together to fortify the strategic partnership and achieve the objectives set by the leaders of both nations.

Beyond defence collaborations, India and France have intensified their joint efforts on maritime security in the Indian Ocean. This cooperative approach reflects the shared commitment to safeguarding vital sea routes and addressing regional security challenges.

As Macron’s visit draws near, the diplomatic engagement between India and France is poised to yield significant outcomes, reinforcing the diverse relationship between the two nations. The strategic partnership is expected to witness further advancements in various domains, setting the stage for enhanced cooperation and shared achievements.