In India, Emmanuel Macron hopes to add color to relations between Paris and New Delhi

After the arrival of the Indian Prime Minister in Paris on July 14, it was Narendra Modi's turn to receive Emmanuel Macron. The Head of State arrived in India this Thursday for a two-day visit on the occasion of Republic Day, a national holiday, which celebrates the coming into force of the Indian Constitution every January 26. An opportunity for the two leaders to demonstrate the strength of the strategic partnership between France and India, and try to add color to a relationship still dominated by arms sales.

This program is suitable for this. Emmanuel Macron began his visit to Jaipur, the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan, this Thursday with a welcoming ceremony at the majestic Amber Fort where exchanges are planned with Indian artists and youth, before leaving for Delhi, where the traditional “Republic of the Day military parade” will be held on Friday. Followed by lunch with Indian investors, a meeting with Indian President Droupadi Murmu, and a state dinner attended by Narendra Modi,” special attention sign » according to Indian diplomacy.

The good relations between Paris and New Delhi are supported by a favorable geopolitical context, mutual concern for strategic autonomy, and shared interests in the Indo-Pacific region. For Narendra Modi, in power since 2014, it is also important to highlight his ties with leading international powers, at a time when his party, the Hindu nationalist movement BJP, is preparing to hold an election rally due to be held in August. held in spring. Since Joe Biden did not respond positively to the invitation initially sent to him, the role of guest of honor fell to Emmanuel Macron, who agreed to take on the role. The French president saw this as an opportunity to present France as a figure in the so-called “Global South” at a time when arrows are raining down on Western countries accused of hypocrisy in their approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ukraine.

Rafale Marine and Thomas Pesquet

Defense cooperation is certainly the most important issue on the agenda of the two leaders. India, which already operates 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, during Narendra Modi's visit to France in July 2023, announced the purchase of 26 Rafale Marines – designed to operate from aircraft carriers –, negotiations for which are still ongoing, as well as three Scorpene -class submarines. “ Exporting weapons is not a neutral act, without any political interests, as it leads to the socialization of training standards, operational culture, socialization of technology and implementation of doctrine.recalls Paco Milhiet, associate researcher at the Catholic Institute of Paris, in an article published by Conversation. Arms sales lock in defense ties that are superimposed on geopolitical and economic interests. »

Civil nuclear power, aeronautics, and space should also feature prominently in discussions, as illustrated by Thomas Pesquet's participation in this trip. Moreover, if the trip was presented by both diplomacies as an opportunity to bring the French and Indian peoples closer together through strengthening ties in the fields of education and culture, it is clear that Paris expressed itself with as much force as New Delhi. “ France would like to act as if there is something other than a grand strategic contract between the two countries, but it remains the driving force behind Franco-Indian relations, and New Delhi is completely satisfied with it.estimates political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, who casts doubt on the prospects for development in the academic, or even commercial, spheres in the face of an increasingly protectionist India.

Regarding human rights, these issues should not be included in the discussion, even though the Indian regime is implementing an authoritarian regime, which is increasing pressure on Muslim and Christian minorities, and continues to lead to a decline in press freedom. . A phenomenon illustrated by the fate of the correspondent Junction in New Delhi, Vanessa Dognac, will be expelled from the country. Joined by JunctionThe Élysée assured on Wednesday that it would continue dialogue with the Indian authorities regarding our colleagues.

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