France celebrated Bastille party with Modi.



Reuters, July 14, 2017 - As the guest of honor at the Bastille Day military parade on Friday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received one of France's most extravagant honors as part of a trip that resulted in significant defense agreements.



The French-built Rafale fighter jets India purchased in 2015 participated in a fly-past above the Arc de Triomphe as Modi and President Emmanuel Macron observed French and Indian soldiers marching down the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris.

The national holidays come at a sensitive time for Macron, who was jeered by some spectators as he rode in a military car down the Champs-Elysees.

His approval ratings have suffered as a result of his decision to raise the retirement age, which this spring provoked months of demonstrations.

On Thursday, Modi began a two-day trip to Paris after receiving the Legion of Honor, the highest honor bestowed by France.

 In a speech delivered late on Thursday, Macron stated that "(India) is a giant in the history of the world and will have a determining role in our future." It is also a buddy and a strategic partner.The parade comes after New Delhi received preliminary approval to purchase three Scorpene class submarines and an additional 26 Rafale class fighters for the navy, strengthening defense ties with Paris at a time when the two countries are looking for allies in the Indo-Pacific.



 According to a person familiar with the specifics, the overall cost of the purchases is anticipated to be approximately 800 billion rupees ($9.75 billion), but that figure is still up for negotiation.For many years, one of India's closest allies in Europe has been France. The only Western country that did not censure New Delhi when India conducted nuclear testing in 1998 was this one.For the past 40 years, India has relied on French fighter aircraft. India purchased Mirage fighters in the 1980s before purchasing Dassault Aviation's Rafale, and two air force squadrons still use the aircraft today.The two new defense acquisitions are a result of India's Russian-built aircraft fleet's aging, Moscow's incapacity to conduct maintenance, and delays in India's plans for indigenous production. Modi will meet with Macron at the Elysee Palace later on Friday before a state supper at the Louvre.



 Human rights organizations, worried about the alleged growing authoritarianism of Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and charges of discrimination against minorities, criticized his visit as well.

 The French Ligue des Droits de l'Homme (LDH) rights organization posted on Twitter, "Today, Emmanuel Macron rolls out the red carpet for Narendra Modi." "The LDH denounces this invitation which sends a disastrous signal, negating our democratic values," said the organization concerned about India's authoritarian approach.

 In order for France to strengthen its alliance network in the Indo-Pacific area after being dealt a blow by Australia when Canberra decided to forgo a significant French submarine contract and join the AUKUS alliance with Britain and the United States, the strategic engagement with India is essential.

 Through its island holdings, both France and India have significant interests in the Indian Ocean, and they are also concerned about China's increasing assertiveness there.

 Only a select few world leaders have been invited to the Bastille Day military parade by Macron.

 Donald Trump was invited to the 2017 festivities, and the then-president of the United States was so moved by the French march-past that he urged Pentagon officials to look into holding a similar parade to honor American troops.


 





 

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