Military deals in focus as France rolls out red carpet for Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in France for a two-day visit as New Delhi signalled that it would approve plans to buy French jets and submarines.

Modi landed in Paris on Thursday at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron, who has made the Indian leader a guest of honour at Bastille Day celebrations in the capital.India will be part of a military parade on Friday, with the Indian air force performing a fly-past.

Ahead of his departure, Modi said he was looking forward to holding wide-ranging discussions on taking forward a “longstanding and time-tested partnership”.

The Hindu nationalist leader was welcomed at Orly airport near Paris by French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and met members of the Indian diaspora. Later, he is to attend a lavish dinner at the Louvre Museum with Macron.Analysts said that while France and India have differing positions on the Russia-Ukraine war, these views are unlikely to impact the foundations of their relationship.Manoj Joshi, a senior analyst at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, told Al Jazeera that the visit will focus on India-France ties and is “not really aimed at the European situation”.“The differences between the Indian position and that of France is well known and is unlikely to be an issue,” Joshi said.

France strongly supports Ukraine and has sent military aid to Kyiv while pressuring Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the conflict. By contrast, India has maintained a publicly neutral stance and snapped up Russian oil.

Even so, Joshi said Modi’s visit will boost the pair’s relationship.

“France has a view of strategic autonomy which is much like that of India. As for the defence industry, again the relationship is old, and India is seeking to move it now from arms transfer and co-development to joint development of weapons and systems.”

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