NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence at the French National Day as ‘guest of honour’ is a rare honour as the last dignitary invited to the occasion was US President Donald Trump in 2017. In another special gesture, India’s tri-services contingent, including IAF aircraft, will participate in the Bastille Day Parade, which is organised on the National Day.
PM Modi will be in France on July 13 and 14 for what will be his fifth trip to the country.
French National Day, or Bastille Day, occupies a special place in French consciousness. This day commemorates the ‘Storming of the Bastille Prison’ in 1789 during the French Revolution.
“Bastille Day Parade is the highlight of the Bastille Day celebrations. Akin to our Republic Day Parade. However, foreign leaders being invited as guest of honour for Bastille Day is not common (last time was in 2017, when the US President was invited). Even rarer is having foreign marching contingents and foreign aircraft participate in it,” an official said.
The PM’s visit coincides with the 25th anniversary of India-France Strategic Partnership. France is a key strategic partner of India and one of the earliest.
“There has been a great personal chemistry between PM Modi and President Emmanuel Macron. The two-day visit of PM Modi will also witness special gestures by President Macron. These include multiple meetings and presence with the PM, particularly a private dinner and joint meeting with CEOs. Also, Macron will host the state banquet at the iconic Louvre Museum on Bastille Day,” a government source said.
More than 200 guests will join the two leaders on France’s national holiday for the dinner in Modi’s honour at the world’s biggest museum.
The PM will interact with the entire political leadership of France, including President Macron, Prime Minister Borne and the presidents of the Senate (Upper House) and National Assembly (Lower House). “There will be strong focus on trade and economy with a CEO Forum comprising big names from Indian and French sides. Close collaboration not just on bilateral issues but also on what the two countries can do on global issues will also be features of PM Modi’s visit,” an official said.
PM Modi will also interact with prominent French personalities and be present at the prestigious La Seine Musicale along with the Indian community.