July 14, 2023
NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Paris on Wednesday afternoon on a two-day official visit of France and was received, in a special gesture, by Prime Minister of France Elisabeth Borne at the airport.
A ceremonial welcome and Guard of Honour were accorded to Prime Minister Modi. He will be attending the Bastille Day Parade on 14th July as the Guest of Honour on the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron.
The Prime Minister was welcomed by the Indian community with shouts of Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Vande Mataram, and waiting on road-sides, they wanted to interact with him. Holding small Indian flags, many of them wearing traditional turbans, with families, spoke to him and shook hands.
Modi’s visit marks the celebration of 25th anniversary of India-France Strategic Partnership. In his departure statement at Delhi, the Prime Minister said an Indian tri-services contingent will be a part of the Bastille Day Parade, while the Indian Air Force aircraft will perform a fly-past on the occasion.
“Rooted in deep trust and commitment, our two countries cooperate closely across various domains including defence, space, civil nuclear, blue economy, trade, investment, education, culture and people to people ties. We also work together on regional and global issues,” he said.
Modi said he looked forward to meeting President Macron and holding wide-ranging discussions on taking forward “this longstanding and time-tested partnership over the next 25 years.”
“I have had the opportunity to meet President Macron several times since my last Official Visit to France in 2022, most recently in Hiroshima, Japan in May 2023 during the G-7 Summit,” he said.
As the prime minister left on his tour, a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved three proposals on Wednesday.
The DAC granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for procurement of 26 Rafale Marine aircraft along with associated ancillary equipment, weapons, simulator, spares, documentation, crew training and logistic support for the Indian Navy from the French Government, based on Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA).
The Ministry of Defence said the price and other terms of purchase will be negotiated with the French Government after taking into account all relevant aspects, including comparative procurement price of similar aircraft by other countries.
Further, integration of Indian designed equipment and establishment of Maintenance, Repair & Operations (MRO) Hub for various systems will be incorporated into the contract documents after due negotiations.
The DAC also granted the AoN for procurement of three additional Scorpene submarines under Buy (Indian) category which will be constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL).
The procurement of additional submarines, with higher indigenous content, will not only help in maintaining required force level and operational readiness of the Indian Navy, but also create significant employment opportunities in the domestic sector. It will also help the MDL in further enhancing its capability and expertise in submarine construction, Defence Ministry said.
In addition, the DAC approved the proposal to lay down guidelines for achieving the desired indigenous content in all categories of capital acquisition cases. It will help in achieving ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in critical manufacturing technologies and life-cycle sustenance of defence platforms/equipment through indigenous manufacturing.
In his departure statement, the Prime Minister said: “I also look forward to my interactions with the French leadership, including H.E. Ms. Elisabeth Borne, Prime Minister of France, H.E. Mr. Gerard Larcher, Presidents of the Senate, and H.E. Yael Braun-Pivet, President of the National Assembly.”
During his visit, Modi will have the opportunity to meet the Indian community, leading CEOs from both countries as well as prominent French personalities. “I am confident that my visit will provide a new impetus to our strategic partnership,” he said.
“From Paris, I will be travelling to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for an Official Visit on July 15. I look forward to meeting my friend, H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi,” he said.
“Our two countries are engaged across a wide range of sectors such as trade, investments, energy, food security, science & technology, education, fintech, defence, security, and robust people-to-people ties,” he said.
“Last year, President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and I agreed on a Roadmap on the future of our partnership, and I look forward to discussing with him how to further deepen our ties,” he said.
“UAE will be hosting the 28th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC (COP-28) later this year. I also look forward to exchanging views on strengthening global cooperation towards accelerating climate action to facilitate the energy transition and implementation of the Paris Agreement,” he said.
The prime minister said: “I am confident that my visit to UAE will usher in a new chapter in our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”