French President will be the guest of honour at India's Republic Day celebrations

Emmanuel Macron's office says the invitation for January 26 is an 'extremely strong gesture' for Indo-French ties

By AP

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron. — AP file
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron. — AP file

Published: Fri 22 Dec 2023, 6:33 PM

India has invited French President Emmanuel Macron to be the chief guest at the country's Republic Day celebrations next month, in what Macron's office described on Friday as a powerful gesture for the two nations' ties.

The visit for Republic Day on January 26 will be Macron's third to India as president. The event marks the 74th anniversary of the adoption of India's Constitution on January 26, 1950, nearly three years after it won independence from British colonial rule.

India's official guest in January 2023 was Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, for a 90-minute parade that ended with a flyby featuring 75 air force fighters, including French-made Rafale jets, transport planes and helicopters.

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Previous French guests for the event have included all of Macron's immediate predecessors as France's president: François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac.

Macron's office called the invitation “an extremely strong gesture".

India’s External Affairs Ministry described the two nations as “strategic partners" and said: “India and France share a high degree of convergence on a range of regional and global issues.”

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Macron also visited India in 2018 and again for a Group of 20 summit in September.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was guest of honour this year at France's annual Bastille Day parade in Paris on July 14.

India and France are looking to further strengthen cooperation on an array of topics ranging from climate to military sales and the strategic Indo-Pacific region.

In July, India’s Defence Acquisition Council approved the purchase of 26 Rafale fighter aircraft for the Indian Navy. The purchase of three Scorpene submarines, developed by France and Spain, was also approved.


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