NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed confidence that his visit to France will provide a new impetus to the bilateral strategic partnership, and said that he looks forward to holding wide-ranging discussions with President Emmanuel Macron on taking forward the time-tested relationship over the next 25 years.
In his departure statement, Modi said his visit to France was particularly special as he will join President Macron for the French National Day, or Bastille Day celebrations in Paris as the Guest of Honour.
An Indian tri-services contingent will be part of the Bastille Day Parade, while an Indian Air Force aircraft will perform a fly-past on the occasion, he said.
Noting that this year marks the 25th anniversary of India-France strategic partnership, he said that rooted in deep trust and commitment, the 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 added.
“I look forward to meeting President Macron and holding wide-ranging discussions on taking forward this longstanding and time-tested partnership over the next 25 years,” Modi said.
The prime minister pointed out that he has had the opportunity to meet President Macron several times since his last official visit to France in 2022, most recently in Hiroshima, Japan in May 2023 during the G-7 Summit.
“I also look forward to my interactions with the French leadership, including Elisabeth Borne, Prime Minister of France, Gerard Larcher, President of the Senate, and Yael Braun-Pivet, President of the National Assembly,” he said.
During his visit, Modi said, he will also have the opportunity to meet the vibrant 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,” the prime minister said.
From Paris, Modi said, he will be travelling to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for an official visit on July 15.
“I look forward to meeting my friend, 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 and technology, education, fintech, defence, security, and robust people-to-people ties,” he noted.
Modi said last year, President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and he agreed on a roadmap on the future of the bilateral partnership, and he looks forward to discussing with him how to further deepen ties.
Noting that the UAE will be hosting the 28th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC (COP-28) later this year, the prime minister said he also looks forward to exchanging views on strengthening global cooperation towards accelerating climate action to facilitate the energy transition and implementation of the Paris Agreement.
“I am confident that my visit to UAE will usher in a new chapter in our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” he said.
Later, Modi left for Paris and is expected to arrive there around 12:30 PM local time (4 PM IST).
Expansion of bilateral defence ties is expected to be a key focus of Prime Minister Modi’s two-day visit to Paris.
Without delving into specific details or possible outcomes, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said at a media briefing on Wednesday that the prime minister’s visit to France would be rich in “substance” and set “new benchmark” for strategic partnership between the two countries in years ahead.
Modi will be the guest of honour at the annual Bastille Day Parade and hold talks with President Macron to take forward cooperation in a range of key areas, including defence, space, trade and investment.
After concluding his visit to France, Modi will travel to Abu Dhabi. A 269-member Indian tri-services contingent will participate in the parade.
Three Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will also join the flypast on the occasion along with French jets.