NewsMacron Steps into the Limelight: France's President to Headline India's Republic Day...

Macron Steps into the Limelight: France’s President to Headline India’s Republic Day Celebrations

France’s president is likely to visit New Delhi in January, as Paris is eyeing a massive defense deal with the South Asian nation

Macron is set to be the guest of honour at New Delhi’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26. The Quad grouping summit, originally scheduled for January in the Indian capital, has been postponed, following earlier invitations extended to US President Joe Biden, who reports suggest won’t be able to attend.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi initially invited President Biden to be the chief guest for Republic Day during their bilateral meeting on September 8 on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Confirmation of the invitation was provided by US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti. However, recent developments, including the postponement of the Quad Summit and accusations against India by Washington over an alleged assassination plot, have led to a change in plans.

The reports of Macron’s visit come following news that India has received price bids from France for a substantial defense deal. The proposal includes the purchase of 26 Rafale-M fighter jets, the naval version of the warplane, and three additional Scorpene-class conventional submarines.

The deal for the fighter jets, estimated at 5.5 billion euros, is a government-to-government agreement. The naval version of the Rafale jets is crucial for the Indian Navy, which faces a shortage of warplanes for its aircraft carriers. Currently operating 36 Rafale jets acquired in 2016, the addition of these naval versions will significantly bolster the country’s maritime capabilities.

The procurement of submarines is an extension of an earlier contract with France’s Naval Group. Mumbai-based shipbuilder Mazagon Dockyard Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) is currently constructing six submarines under the contract. France has submitted a ‘Letter of Acceptance,’ outlining pricing and other details for the submarines.

The finalization of both deals is pending approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security after concluding cost negotiations. The submission of these bids coincides with Macron’s potential visit to New Delhi, underscoring the strategic importance of defense ties between India and France.

India, with only two operational aircraft carriers, is working to enhance its naval capabilities. The INS Vikrant, a domestically designed carrier, is set to be operationalized by January 2024 after completing its ‘guarantee refit’ at Cochin Shipyard. The acquisition of the Rafale-M jets is a significant step towards addressing the Indian Navy’s current limitations in shipborne multi-role fighters.

As Macron’s visit aligns with these crucial developments, it signifies not only diplomatic ties but also the strengthening of defense cooperation between India and France. The Republic Day celebrations promise to be a symbolic platform for showcasing the robust partnership between the two nations.

Isrg Team
Isrg Team
Isrg Team is a member of Digital Pradesh News Networks, a collective of journalists, reporters, writers, editors, lawyers, advocates, professors, and scholars affiliated with the Digital Pradesh News Network.

Latest Updates