PM Modi set to meet President Macron in France next week to ‘deepen strategic partnership’

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to meet his ‘friend’ Emmanuel Macron, who has been re-elected President, in France next week.

“Congratulations to my friend Emmanuel Macron on being re-elected as the President of France! I look forward to continue working together to deepen the India-France Strategic Partnership,” PM Modi tweeted.

France is one of India’s top strategic partners and Macron and Modi have a good rapport.

When Macron visited India in 2018 he had said, “I think we have very good chemistry, our two great democracies have a historic relationship.”

PM Modi broke protocol to receive Macron at the airport, exchanging warm hugs and handshakes.

Things are unlikely to change when the duo meet this time. France has already accepted India’s stand on Ukraine. Bilateral trade and the Indo-Pacific are going to be the key areas of talks.

From manufacturing air independent propulsion submarines and high trust aircraft engines to mapping the Indian Ocean bed, there is a long list of collaborations between the two nations.

France is a big gateway for India to have more access in Europe. Besides, both countries are eager to strengthen their defence and security ties. The 20th round of joint staff talks of the two countries recently concluded in Delhi.

Meanwhile, in the Ministerial Forum for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific held in Paris in February, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that the promise of multilateralism in maintaining a regional order in the Indo-Pacific with France was a critical bridge to connect Europe with India.

“In security, France is already among India’s foremost partners,” Jaishankar said, adding that, with the EU, India now has an enhanced partnership and operational level of access.

Indian and French navies have taken part in many exercises together and there have been meetings between the national security advisors and defence ministers of both countries.

In May 2021, India joined the French La Perouse exercise for the first time in the Bay of Bengal, which also included navies from the other Quad members.

India and France also inked a roadmap to enhance bilateral exchanges on the blue economy during Jaishankar’s visit to France in February.

The roadmap aimed to forge a common vision of ocean governance based on the rule of law and to cooperate on sustainable and resilient coastal and waterways infrastructure.

“India and France intend to make the blue economy a driver of progress of their respective societies while respecting the environment and coastal and marine biodiversity. Both countries aim to contribute to scientific knowledge and ocean conservation and ensure that the ocean remains a global common, a space of freedom and trade,” Jaishankar had said.

Meanwhile, in October 2021, India-France bilateral trade stood at $1.61 biliion. Aeroplanes and helicopters are amongst the most important imports to India and exports include petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals.