Showcasing the special bond between India and France, a contingent of French troops will participate in the celebrations for the 67th Republic Day – the first time troops from a foreign country will participate in India’s national day celebrations. The French soldiers dressed in their trademark colours of red and blue would march right along the Indian troops, adding dash and flair to the resplendent ceremonial parade.
French President Francois Hollande would present as the guest of honour at the Republic Day parade, the fifth French president to be conferred this honour by India. Other French leaders who visited India as guest of honour at the R-Day parade included Jacques Chirac as Prime Minister in 1976 and as President in 1998; President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in 1980; and President Nicholas Sarkozy in 2008.
In 2009, the Indian troops participated in Bastille Day celebrations in France. The last 10 months have been unique in the annals of India-France relations, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting France twice, first in April on a bilateral trip and the second time in November for the global climate summit COP21. Besides, the two leaders also met on the sidelines of various multilateral summits, including UNGA and G20.
The Jan 24-26 visit of Hollande is set to impart an added traction to the burgeoning India-France relations as the two countries are looking to expand cooperation in diverse areas, including counter-terrorism, defence and renewable energy.
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