Emmanuel Macron’s India visit: India, France look to boost bilateral ties
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron are to give their nod to a new framework for bilateral cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region during the latter’s four-day visit beginning Friday.
The framework could reaffirm their commitment to a “free, open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based architecture in the Indo-Pacific” as well as focus on countering piracy after talks in New Delhi on Saturday, a day after his arrival on Friday.
Marking two decades of their bilateral strategic partnership, attending the founding ceremony of the International Solar Alliance on Sunday in New Delhi, inaugurating a solar energy project in Uttar Pradesh besides a visit to Modi’s parliamentary constituency—Varanasi—on Monday are the other elements of Macron’s visit, a person familiar with the development said.
The French President, one of the youngest political leaders in continental Europe, will also be meeting a cross-section of Indian students as well as academics during his stay in India.
A key aspect “which will be important in this visit will be our strategic partnership,” the person cited above said, adding that “India was France’s first strategic partner in the region. And this visit is going to coincide with an important milestone... the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the (India-France) strategic partnership.”
“It is an important time to recall history but it is also an important time to give a new momentum to the partnership and that is what we are aiming at,” the person said, adding “that’s the reason why we want to put special emphasis on the Indian Ocean.”
While not averse to working with India and other countries in the Indian Ocean region, France will be focusing on bilateral cooperation with India during talks with Modi, the person said.
In November, Indian officials joined those from Japan, Australia and the US for talks on increasing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region—with an eye on China. Though Japan extended an invitation to France and Britain to join the group, neither have shown an active interest.
France has two million citizens living in the Indian Ocean region, has territories in the Indian Ocean region as well as economic interests and naval bases, the person said adding: “I would say we are facing similar challenges, we are sharing same vision and priorities and we very strongly believe there is room for very strong bilateral cooperation”.
“What is going to be discussed on Saturday is the bilateral aspect of cooperation and that is what we want to develop further,” the person said.
Climate change, energy and renewables will be another aspect of the visit, the person said. India and France will join heads of state and government from more than 25 countries to seek cheaper technologies and easier sources of funding at the International Solar Alliance, the person said.
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