France-India

French President guest of honour of Republic Day

Business & Politics

December 16, 2015

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Indian Prime Minister Modi with French President François Hollande at the Elysee Palace in April 2015, in Paris

Indian Prime Minister Modi with French President François Hollande at the Elysee Palace in April 2015, in Paris


The information was circulating for weeks, but the French President’s office has officially confirmed it: François Hollande will be the guest of honour in New Delhi for the 2016 Republic Day of India, celebrated on January 26 every year.

 
This would mark an addition to the close relationship developing between France and India in many fields. The French President will be seen alongside the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the celebration that includes military parade and colourful shows presented by different Indian states. Such honour has not been granted to a French Head of State since January 2008 when Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, followed the parade with the then Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh.
 
This official visit of François Hollande is symbolic in more ways than one. It shows the Indian solidarity after the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13 and the close cooperation between the two countries security and their strategic partnership. It also comes after the international agreement to fight global warming at the Cop21 Conference in December in Paris, where France especially supported the Indian initiative of an International Solar Alliance. Hollande and Modi even wrote together the forewords of a book collecting the thoughts of great authors from around the world, through the ages, on ecology. Finally, this visit would cement many contracts in the fields of defence (notably the purchase by India of Rafale fighter aircrafts), industry and services, and should harvest new agreements.

Just a simple wish though: the previous guest for the Republic Day, in 2015, was none other than US President Barack Obama but he had suffered intermittent rains. For François Hollande, accustomed to rainy weather, the sun is needed for this Franco-Indian relationship that is pretty clear so far.

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