New Delhi, Jan 25: In a grand prelude to the 75th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, French President Emmanuel Macron made a significant visit to Jaipur, the picturesque capital of Rajasthan.
President Macron was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the historic Jantar Mantar, marking the beginning of a series of engagements between the two leaders.
The high-profile visit, part of Macron's third official trip to India, commenced with a vibrant roadshow from Jantar Mantar to the iconic Hawa Mahal. The streets of Jaipur resonated with the chants of "Modi, Modi," as excited onlookers cheered the leaders, who responded with friendly waves throughout their journey.
This showcase of Indian heritage and culture set the stage for Macron's role as the esteemed chief guest at India's Republic Day parade.
Amidst the rich architectural backdrop of Jantar Mantar, President Macron, donning a classic two-piece suit, and Prime Minister Modi, in his signature grey check Modi jacket and traditional white attire, shared a warm embrace.
A local guide enlightened the French President about the site's historical significance, offering a glimpse into India's rich architectural legacy. The roadshow's procession referred to as the "Shoba Yatra," captivated both leaders and spectators as it made its way to Hawa Mahal, another heritage landmark building in the Pink City. The afternoon and evening events were to culminate in a dinner at the magnificent Rambagh Palace Hotel, where official meetings, discussions and a dinner were scheduled.
President Macron and his delegation had an engaging visit to the majestic Amer Fort. There, Macron greeted enthusiastic crowds waving French and Indian flags and experienced a traditional local welcome, including interactions with students.
At the airport, Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar, Governor Kalraj Mishra, and Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma extended a warm reception to the French delegation.
The visit is expected to foster significant discussions between Modi and Macron, covering strategic topics such as defence collaborations. France's role as a key arms supplier to India underscores the importance of these talks. The French presidency highlighted the visit's objective to strengthen the diplomatic and economic relationship between the two countries. The agenda is broad and includes cooperation in climate change, Indo-Pacific security, space exploration, digital technology, nuclear and solar energy, and infrastructure development.
They may also talk about the current situation in the Ukraine-Russia Conflict, the Israel-Gaza Conflict and maritime security. The French delegation, comprising ministers of defence, foreign affairs, culture, and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, seeks to fortify bilateral ties.
In addition to government engagements, President Macron plans to meet with leading Indian business figures in sectors like pharmaceuticals, aeronautics, automobiles, and energy. His visit aims to attract foreign investment and bolster economic ties. This event marks the sixth occasion a French leader has been honoured as the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebrations.