Leaders of France, India tout burgeoning partnership

Paris, Jul 14 (EFE).- French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined here Friday in celebrating the strengthening of the strategic partnership their two countries former 25 years ago.

“Today we are going to continue reinforcing this historic relationship of trust to address international crises and the great global challenges,” Macron said during a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace.

Among those challenges, France’s president stressed the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the consequences that conflict has had for “the most vulnerable countries.”

Macron said that France will support India’s push for a “more just world order,” alluding to New Delhi’s push for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

“The effects of Covid pandemic and war in Ukraine have been felt all around the world. These two issues have negatively impacted the countries of Global South in particular,” Modi said.

“To sort these issues, all countries must come together. All disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. India is ready to contribute towards a stable form of peace,” the Indian prime minister said.

Both Macron, who invited Modi to join him for Friday’s Bastille Day parade in Paris, and United States President Joe Biden – who rolled out the red carpet for the Indian leader’s state visit to Washington last month – have sought to persuade New Delhi to condemn the Russian invasion, but India is unwilling to abandon its decades-long friendship with Moscow.

Modi devoted most of his remarks Friday to the bilateral relationship.

“We are celebrating 25 years of our strategic partnership. We are making a roadmap for the next 25 years on the basis of the strong foundation of the previous 25 years. Bold and ambitious goals are being set for this. People of India have taken the resolve to make ourselves a developed nation. In this journey, we see France as a natural partner,” he said.

Indian military units, including the Punjab Regiment, took part in the Bastille Day procession, symbolize growing defense ties between the two countries.

“Defense cooperation is a key pillar in our ties that reflects the two countries’ deep trust in each other,” Modi said.

India, whose air force already has 36 French-made Rafale jets, is expected to buy 26 additional Rafales as well as three Scorpene submarines from France in deal valued at up to 4 billion euros.

New Delhi previously signed a contract to acquire six Scorpenes, three of them to be built in Indian shipyards under a technology-transfer agreement.

Modi’s two-day visit ended with a gala dinner at the Louvre hosted by Macron. EFE rcf/dr

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