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Modi-Macron meet will take India-France relations to next level

Modi-Macron meet will take India-France relations to next level
(File Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dinner meeting with his friend French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday is expected to record positive movement in India-France strategic ties, encompassing defence cooperation, maritime partnership, and the Indo-Pacific.

Not only will PM Modi wish President Macron a successful second term in office, but the bilateral relations are expected to reach a new level with France actively collaborating with India in “Atmanirbhar Bharat” project in the defence sector.

The two leaders have lot of ground to cover in the strategic areas as the last two meetings of the strategic dialogue between Marcon’s diplomatic advisor Emmanuel Bonne and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were postponed due to the indisposition of the French Diplomat. The last meeting was scheduled to take place in New Delhi on April 28 but was postponed.

India and France have a robust relationship with latter being the only country that does not supply defence equipment to either Pakistan or China and is a bilateral partner with New Delhi on Indo-Pacific. The two countries understand each other positions on vital issues like Russian invasion of Ukraine and have continuous political exchanges on global issues.

While PM Modi’s bilateral visit to Germany has raised high expectations with Chancellor Olaf Scholz with the latter towing a stronger line on both China and Russia from his predecessor, the Paris visit is all about adding more strategic blocks to a deep relationship.

The India-Nordic summit and revival of bilateral ties with Denmark are to revitalize the relationship with Nordic countries in the backdrop of deteriorating global security scenario, be it Ukraine or rising radicalization in these countries.

Fact is that India with France is looking towards manufacturing and export of emerging and critical defence technologies without any license regime or any legal incumbrances. Under the “Make in India” policy of PM Modi, India is looking towards France to make Safran aircraft engines and make air independent propulsion submarines to utilize the already existing manufacturing line at the Naval Dockyards in Mumbai.

With France making India the lead partner in its Indo-Pacific policy, the two countries plan to share technologies for better maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific particularly the Indian Ocean.

While last of the 36 Rafale fighters is being readied to fly to India, French Company Dassault is in contention for supply of 26 Rafale-M fighters to India for its indigenous aircraft carrier-1 or soon to be named INS Vikrant. In this context, the French are even willing to give four Rafale-M on lease for training purposes before the aircraft carrier is launched on August 15, 2022, by PM Modi.

On a side note, India has also asked US to build aircraft engines in India under the 100 per cent transfer of technology route and participate in the “Make in India” initiative.

PM Modi’s landing in Paris just to greet his friend President Macron on his re-election reflects very close cooperation shared between the two countries in the UNSC. France and US were the only two countries that blocked the Chinese attempt to designate Indian engineers working in Afghanistan as global terrorists under resolution 1267 with Beijing batting on behalf of its client state Pakistan.

France opposed any move to criticise India after the Modi government decided to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. PM Modi has not forgotten the French help after 1998 Shakti tests by India, when the world including Ukraine had declared New Delhi a pariah.

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