“Steady and resilient through darkest storms”: PM Modi hails India-France ties ahead of two-day visit
Paris: Hailing the bilateral ties between India and France, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the relationship between the two countries are in an 'excellent' space and stood steady and resilient through the 'darkest storms'.
PM Modi has embarked on a visit to France at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron. His two-day visit, on July 13 and 14, is special as this year marks the 25th anniversary of the strategic partnership between India and France. In an interview to French newspaper Les Echos before departing for France, PM Modi said, "First of all, on behalf of 1.4 billion Indians, I wish to convey my heartfelt gratitude to France, to its government and personally to President Macron for inviting India to 14th July National day celebrations as Guest of honour. I feel grateful to visit France on this occasion. This is a special year as it marks the 25th anniversary of our strategic partnership. It is an honour for India and a tribute to India-France friendship."
PM Modi will be the Guest of Honour at the French Bastille Day celebrations at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron, on July 14.
PM Modi stated that the relations between the two countries are currently at a turning point and the success of the strategic partnership has been significant in taking the ties forward.
Delving deeper into the India-France partnership, PM Modi said, "Our partnership in sensitive areas like space and defence go back to five decades and more. It was a phase when the West did not have a friendly disposition towards India. So, it is not a surprise that France was the first Western country with which we declared a Strategic Partnership. That was a difficult time for the world, including for In-dia. Since then our relationship has transformed into a partnership that is important not just for our two countries, but is of great geopolitical consequence."
Affirming that the relationship between the two countries was in excellent space, PM Modi added, "The relationship is in excellent shape. It is strong, trusted, consistent. It has been steady and resilient in the darkest storms. It has been bold and ambitious in looking for opportunities," according to English translation of the Interview of PM to French newspaper Les Echos.
"The level of mutual trust and confidence we share is unmatched. It stems from shared values and vision. We share a strong sense of strategic autonomy. Both have deep commitment to international law. We both seek a multipolar world. Both of us carry an unwavering faith in multilateralism," he added.
To a question on expectations from France with regard to extending strategic support to India amid its frosty equations with China, PM Modi said that India and France have a wide-ranging and comprehensive strategic partnership that includes cooperation in the areas of politics, defence, security, economy, and human-centric development.
"When countries with similar vision and values work together, bilaterally, in plurilateral arrangements or in regional institutions, they can deal with any challenge," PM Modi told Les Echos.
"Our partnership, including in the Indo Pacific region, is not directed against, or at the expense of any country. Our aim is to safeguard our economic and security interests, ensure freedom of navigation and commerce, advance the rule of international law in the region," Prime Minister Modi said.
Earlier, on Thursday morning, PM Modi left for France on a two-day official visit.
Ahead of his departure to France, PM Modi, in a statement, said he was looking forward to meeting French President Emmanuel Macron and holding discussions on taking forward the partnership between both nations.
"I look forward to meeting President Macron and holding wide-ranging discussions on taking forward this longstanding and time-tested partnership over the next 25 years. I have had the opportunity to meet President Macron several times since my last Official Visit to France in 2022, most recently in Hiroshima, Japan in May 2023 during the G-7 Summit," read an official statement released from the Prime Minister's Office.
Terming his visit to France as "special", PM Modi informed that an Indian tri-services contingent will take part in the Bastille Day Parade.
He added that the Indian Air Force aircraft will also perform a fly-past on the occasion. (ANI)